Tactics Starter Guide

This starter guide briefly covers the process of creating a tactic, including the following aspects:

  • System fluidity (team shape) – choosing a system fluidity level according to how you want your players to play as individual ‘parts’ of your playing system.
  • Playing style (team mentality and team instructions sliders) – choosing a basic playing style according to how you want your team as a whole to play.
  • Playing system balance (formation, and player roles and duties)
    • Formation – choosing a suitable formation.
    • Balancing each positional area – assigning player roles and duties that suit your system fluidity and playing style.
    • Overall forward movement – achieving a balance in the overall forward movement of your players.
  • Playing style customisation – reviewing your player roles and duties and setting other tactical instructions if desired in order to ensure that your playing style is implemented appropriately.

This should give you a good general understanding of how to create a logical tactic.

The focus here is on creating a tactic that is suitable for general use. However, as part of a match strategy, you may want to alter any of the above aspects of your tactic for a particular match or in a particular match scenario, even if it means making a temporary departure from a typical playing style or a balanced playing system.

Subsequent guides in the Tactics section cover these topics in greater detail, including information not included here, in order to explain the complete framework for creating a tactic based on the tactical theory presented on GuideToFootball.com.

The Example Tactics article that immediately follows this starter guide provides various examples of tactics that have been created using the full framework, along with basic explanations, so you can gain a greater understanding of how the framework works, and even try out some tactics, before you move on to the subsequent guides.

If you are new to Football Manager then it is recommended that you use the in-game tutorial to familiarise yourself with the tactics screens and options before reading this starter guide.

System Fluidity

Aim: to choose a system fluidity level according to how you want your players to play as individual ‘parts’ of your playing system.

UI: On the Tactics Overview screen you can set a system fluidity level for your team by using the Team Shape drop-down list on the right-hand side.

Choose one of the following:

1) I want my team to play with a more fluid playing system – your team will shape up fluidly and play as a unit, with players sharing positional responsibilities and mixing things up.

  • To implement: select the Fluid team shape to implement a more fluid playing system to a moderate extent or select the Very Fluid team shape to implement a more fluid playing system to a large extent.

2) I want my team to play with a more structured playing system – your team will shape up rigidly and play in a precise manner, with players focusing on particular positional responsibilities and playing to their individual strengths.

  • To implement: select the Structured team shape to implement a more structured playing system to a moderate extent or select the Highly Structured team shape to implement a more structured playing system to a large extent.

3) I want my team to play with a flexible playing system – your team will play in a balanced manner, with players sharing positional responsibilities to a moderate extent.

  • To implement: select the Flexible team shape.

Tips for making your choice:

  • A more fluid playing system can make it easier to create your tactic as it allows you to think of your team as being more like a single unit.
  • A more structured playing system can be more interesting to choose player roles for as it places more importance on the individual contributions of your players.
  • A flexible playing system can give you more freedom when creating your tactic and you can always change it later if you decide upon a more specific approach.

Further details:

Playing Style

Aim: to choose a basic playing style according to how you want your team as a whole to play.

UI:

  • On the Tactics Overview screen click the Team Instructions button on the right-hand side.
  • You can set a core style for your team by using the Mentality options at the top of the Team Instructions window.
  • You can set an attacking style for your team by using the team Passing Directness slider in the Build-Up column.
  • You can set a defensive style for your team by using the team Closing Down slider in the Defence column.

Further details:

Core Style

Choose one of the following:

1) I want my team to play attacking football – your team will apply pressure to the opposition team with a high risk approach both with and without the ball, proactively creating space and forcing mistakes from the opposition team.

  • To implement: select the Control team mentality to implement attacking football to a moderate extent or select the Attacking team mentality to implement attacking football to a large extent.
  • With standard attacking football your team will focus more on penetrating space than on keeping possession and retaining solidity, and more on restricting space than on protecting space. Attacks will be lead mainly by your more attack-minded players, with your more defensive-minded players focusing more on feeding the ball to them with shorter passes.

2) I want my team to play defensive football (a.k.a. counter attacking football) – your team will invite pressure from the opposition team with a low risk approach both with and without the ball, ceding the initiative for large periods and waiting for available space to open up in more advanced areas before exploiting this space on the break1.

  • To implement: select the Counter team mentality to implement defensive football to a moderate extent (and encourage counter attacking1) or select the Defensive team mentality to implement defensive football to a large extent.
  • With standard defensive football your team will focus more on keeping possession and retaining solidity than on penetrating space, and more on protecting space than on restricting space. Attacks will be lead mainly by longer passes from your more defensive-minded players, with your more attack-minded players focusing more on waiting for available space to open up.

3) I have no preference regarding the use of attacking football or defensive football.

  • To implement: select the Standard team mentality.

Tips for making your choice:

  • Try to choose a core style that is suitable for your team.
  • To check player suitability for each core style go to Team Report > Comparison tab and view the Physical, Mental and Technical tabs. Assess your team’s attributes relative to the grey bars that show your league’s averages.
  • On Physical tick Defenders and Midfielders only.
    • For attacking football look for relatively high Acceleration and Pace.
    • For defensive football look for relatively high Jumping Reach and Strength.
  • On Physical tick Midfielders and Strikers only.
    • For defensive football look for relatively high Acceleration and Pace.
  • On Mental tick Defenders, Midfielders and Strikers only.
    • For attacking football look for relatively high Flair and Vision.
  • On Technical tick Defenders, Midfielders and Strikers only.
    • For attacking football look for relatively high non-set piece attributes (all attributes except Corners, Free Kick Taking, Long Throws and Penalties).

Further details:

1A break involves your team temporarily taking a higher risk approach in order to quickly exploit available space in advanced areas. A counter attack is a break that occurs immediately after winning back possession from the opposition team. During a break your team will ignore your tactical instructions to a large extent in order to focus more on penetrating space. Selecting the Counter team mentality increases the likelihood of your team starting a counter attack after winning back possession.

Attacking Style

Choose one of the following:

1) I want my team to attack with direct plays – when it has the ball your team will penetrate space directly by moving the ball forward quickly, mainly creating space by using physical power.

  • To implement: increase the team Passing Directness slider to More Direct Passing to implement direct plays to a moderate extent or increase it to Go Route One to implement direct plays to a large extent.
  • Your team will play direct attacking football if you combine direct plays with attacking football – your team will focus even more on penetrating space than with standard attacking football and will proactively create space by using physical power.
  • Your team will play long ball football if you combine direct plays with defensive football – your team will focus more on penetrating space than with standard defensive football and will be less reliant on breaks.

2) I want my team to attack with short plays – when it has the ball your team will penetrate space patiently by cycling possession, mainly creating space by drawing players out of position.

  • To implement: increase the team Passing Directness slider to Shorter Passing to implement short plays to a moderate extent or select the Retain Possession team instruction to implement short plays to a large extent.
  • Bear in mind that Retain Possession also implements the safe passes style method (see Playing Style Customisation below)
  • Your team will play pass and move football if you combine short plays with attacking football – your team will focus more on keeping possession than with standard attacking football and will proactively create space by drawing players out of position.
  • Your team will play possession football if you combine short plays with defensive football – your team will focus even more on keeping possession than with standard defensive football and will be more reliant on breaks, although it will counter attack less due to spending more time in possession.

3) I have no preference regarding the use of direct plays or short plays.

  • To implement: do not adjust the team Passing Directness slider.

Tips for making your choice:

  • Try to choose an attacking style that is suitable for your team.
  • To check player suitability for each attacking style go to Team Report > Comparison tab and view the Physical, Mental and Technical tabs. Assess your team’s attributes relative to the grey bars that show your league’s averages.
  • On Physical tick Midfielders and Strikers only.
    • For direct plays look for relatively high Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Jumping Reach, Pace, Stamina and Strength.
  • On Mental tick Midfielders and Strikers only.
    • For direct plays look for relatively high Aggression, Bravery and Work Rate.
    • For short plays look for relatively high Anticipation, Concentration, Decisions, Flair, Off The Ball, Teamwork and Vision.
  • On Technical tick Midfielders and Strikers only.
    • For direct plays look for relatively high Crossing, Dribbling and Heading.
    • For short plays look for relatively high First Touch, Passing and Technique.

Further details:

Defensive Style

Choose one of the following:

1) I want my team to defend with aggressive pressing – when the opposition team has the ball your team will apply a higher level of defensive pressure (than would normally be the case for your selected team mentality) in order to force more attacking mistakes from the opposition team and spend more time in possession.

  • To implement: increase the team Closing Down slider to More Closing Down to implement aggressive pressing to a moderate extent or increase it to Much More Closing Down to implement aggressive pressing to a large extent.
  • If you are using the Control or Attacking team mentalities then bear in mind that they automatically increase the team Closing Down slider slightly, so be sure that you want to increase it further before doing so.
  • Your team will play high pressure football if you combine aggressive pressing with attacking football – your team will focus even more on restricting space than with standard attacking football and will spend more time proactively creating space due to spending more time in possession.
  • Your team will play aggressive defensive football if you combine aggressive pressing with defensive football – your team will focus more on restricting space than with standard defensive football and will be less reliant on counter attacking due to spending more time in possession, although it may be able to counter attack more frequently by winning back possession earlier.

2) I want my team to defend with containment – when the opposition team has the ball your team will invite more attacking pressure from the opposition team (than would normally be the case for your selected team mentality) in order to allow more available space to open up in more advanced areas for counter attacking.

  • To implement: decrease the team Closing Down slider to Less Closing Down to implement containment to a moderate extent or decrease it to Much Less Closing Down to implement containment to a large extent.
  • If you are using the Counter or Defensive team mentalities then bear in mind that they automatically decrease the team Closing Down slider slightly, so be sure that you want to decrease it further before doing so.
  • Your team will play cautious attacking football if you combine containment with attacking football – your team will focus more on protecting space than with standard attacking football but will spend less time proactively creating space due to spending less time in possession.
  • Your team will play parking-the-bus football if you combine containment with defensive football – your team will focus even more on protecting space than with standard defensive football and will be even more reliant on counter attacking due to spending less time in possession.

3) I have no preference regarding the use of aggressive pressing or containment.

  • To implement: do not adjust the team Closing Down slider.

Tips for making your choice:

  • Try to choose a defensive style that is suitable for your team.
  • To check player suitability for each defensive style go to Team Report > Comparison tab and view the Physical, Mental and Technical tabs. Assess your team’s attributes relative to the grey bars that show your league’s averages.
  • On Physical tick Defenders and Midfielders only.
    • For aggressive pressing look for relatively high Acceleration, Pace and Stamina.
    • For containment look for relatively high Jumping Reach and Strength.
  • On Mental tick Defenders and Midfielders only.
    • For aggressive pressing look for relatively high Aggression, Anticipation and Work Rate.
    • For containment look for relatively high Composure and Concentration.
  • On Technical tick Defenders and Midfielders only.
    • For aggressive pressing look for relatively high Tackling.
    • For containment look for relatively high Heading and Marking.

Further details:

Playing System Balance

UI:

  • On the Tactics Overview screen you can set a formation by selecting one from the Formation drop-down list at the top-right of the screen or by dragging the player icons on the formation diagram.
  • You can set roles and duties for each playing position by using the top drop-downs on the player icons or by using the drop-downs in the Position/Role/Duty column on the left.
  • You can select a player for each playing position by using the bottom drop-downs on the player icons or by using the drop-downs in the Player column on the left.

Further details:

Formation

Aim: to choose a suitable formation.

A selection of balanced formations for you to choose from is provided below. The formations are categorised according to how attacking or defensive they are (the formation names used here are those that are used in FM).

Very attacking:

  • 4-2-3-1 Wide

Fairly attacking:

  • 4-2-3-1 Wide Asymmetric (select 4-2-3-1 Wide and drag an M(C) down to DM(C))
  • 4-4-2
  • 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow (known as 4-1-2-1-2 elsewhere in this guide)
  • 5-3-2 WB (known as 3-5-2 elsewhere in this guide)
  • 5-2-3 WB (known as 3-4-3 elsewhere in this guide)

Neutral:

  • 4-1-2-3 DM Wide
  • 4-2-3-1 DM Wide
  • 4-4-1-1
  • 5-3-1-1 WB (known as 3-5-1-1 elsewhere in this guide) (select 5-3-2 WB and drag a ST(C) down to AM(C) then re-position the two attackers to centre)

Fairly defensive:

  • 4-2-1-3 DM Wide
  • 4-5-1

Very defensive:

  • 4-1-4-1 DM

Tips for making your choice:

  • Try to choose a formation for which you have good squad depth in each playing position.
  • To check your squad depth in different playing positions go to Team Report > Squad Depth tab and select Position Overview (Current Ability) from the Show drop-down list. You can view your squad depth in more detail by selecting All (Current Ability) from the Show drop-down list and choosing different formations from the Formation drop-down list. The stars indicate the current abilities of your players in the relevant playing positions (based on the opinion of your assistant manager or other coach if selected).
  • Your assistant manager’s recommended formation (at the bottom of the Formation drop-down list) should have good squad depth.
  • Any formation can be used with any playing style. However …
  • … More attacking formations can help your team to apply a higher level of pressure in more advanced areas (which can be useful for attacking football and aggressive pressing).
  • … More defensive formations can help your team to invite more pressure from the opposition team (which can be useful in defensive football and containment).
  • … You may want to use a formation with two central attacker playing positions (an AM(C) and an ST(C), or two ST(C)s) for direct plays.
  • … You may want to use a formation with wide partnerships (two players on each flank) for focusing play down the flanks.

Further details:

Balancing Central Defence

Aim: to assign player roles and duties in central defence that suit your system fluidity and playing style.

  • Central defence = sweeper (SW) + centre backs (CB)

To balance central defence try to include each of the following key tactical roles in your tactic:

  • A covering central defender
    • Includes the Defend and Cover duties
  • A stopper central defender
    • Includes the Defend and Stopper duties (except the Sweeper (SW Defend))
  • A safe-playing central defender
    • Includes the Central Defender, Defensive Centre Back and Half Back (DM Defend) roles

Each key tactical role can be given to more than one player and each player can be given more than one key tactical role, if you wish.

Balanced role and duty combinations that include all of these key tactical roles are listed below. They are categorised according to their suitability for different system fluidity levels and playing styles, based on the following:

  • The Central Defender (shortened to ‘CD’) role and the Defend duty are more suitable for more fluid playing systems.
  • The Ball Playing Defender (shortened to ‘BPD’), Defensive Centre Back (shortened to ‘DCB’), Sweeper and Libero roles, and the Stopper and Cover duties, are more suitable for more structured playing systems.
    • The BPD and Libero are more suitable for attacking football and short plays.
    • The DCB and Sweeper are more suitable for defensive football and direct plays.

Choose one of these combinations (or its mirror image).

Tips for making your choice:

  • Try to choose roles and duties for which you have good player suitability.
  • To check player suitability for different roles and duties go to Tactics > Player tab and use the Role drop-down.

Further details:

General Purpose

These role and duty combinations are suitable for any playing style when using a more fluid or flexible playing system in particular. They can also be useful when using more structured playing systems if other options are lacking or not suitable for your players.

Central defence partnerships:

  • Central Defender (CB Defend) – Central Defender (CB Defend)

Three-man central defences:

  • Central Defender (CB Defend) – Central Defender (CB Defend) – Central Defender (CB Defend)

Attacking Football / Short Plays

These role and duty combinations are more suitable for attacking football and short plays when using a more structured or flexible playing system in particular.

Central defence partnerships:

  • CD/BPD (CB Stopper) – CD/BPD (CB Cover)
    • Including at least one CD (or add a Half Back (DM Defend))
  • CD/BPD (CB Defend) – CD/BPD (CB Defend)
    • Including at least one CD (or add a Half Back (DM Defend)) and at least one BPD

Flat three-man central defences:

  • CD/BPD (CB Defend/Stopper) – CD/BPD (CB Cover) – CD/BPD (CB Defend/Stopper)
    • Including at least one CD
  • CD/BPD (CB Defend/Cover) – CD/BPD (CB Stopper) – CD/BPD (CB Defend/Cover)
    • Including at least one CD
  • CD/BPD (CB Defend/Stopper) – CD/BPD (CB Defend) – CD/BPD (CB Defend/Cover)
    • Including at least one CD and at least one Stopper or Cover
  • CD/BPD (CB Defend) – CD/BPD (CB Defend) – CD/BPD (CB Defend)
    • Including at least one CD and at least one BPD

Sweeper central defences:

  • CD/BPD (CB Defend/Stopper) – Libero (SW Support) – CD/BPD (CB Defend/Stopper)
    • Including at least one CD (or add a Half Back (DM Defend)) and at least one Stopper
  • CD/BPD (CB Defend) – Libero (SW Support/Attack) – CD/BPD (CB Defend)
    • Including at least one CD (or add a Half Back (DM Defend))

Defensive Football / Direct Plays

These role and duty combinations are more suitable for defensive football and direct plays when using a more structured or flexible playing system in particular.

Central defence partnerships:

  • CD/DCB (CB Stopper) – CD/DCB (CB Cover)
  • CD/DCB (CB Defend) – CD/DCB (CB Defend)
    • Including at least one DCB

Flat three-man central defences:

  • CD/DCB (CB Defend/Stopper) – CD/DCB (CB Cover) – CD/DCB (CB Defend/Stopper)
  • CD/DCB (CB Defend/Cover) – CD/DCB (CB Stopper) – CD/DCB (CB Defend/Cover)
  • CD/DCB (CB Defend/Stopper) – CD/DCB (CB Defend) – CD/DCB (CB Defend/Cover)
    • Including at least one Stopper or Cover
  • CD/DCB (CB Defend) – CD/DCB (CB Defend) – CD/DCB (CB Defend)
    • Including at least one DCB

Sweeper central defences:

  • CD/DCB (CB Defend/Stopper) – Sweeper (SW Defend) – CD/DCB (CB Defend/Stopper)

Balancing Central Midfield

Aim: to assign player roles and duties in central midfield that suit your system fluidity and playing style.

  • Central midfield = defensive midfielders (DM) + centre midfielders (CM)

To balance central midfield try to include each of the following key tactical roles in your tactic:

  • A covering central midfielder
  • A number-eight central midfielder
  • A central midfield water-carrier
  • A central midfield creator

Each key tactical role can be given to more than one player and each player can be given more than one key tactical role, if you wish.

Also try to include a number-eight central midfielder in a playing position level with or ahead of a covering central midfielder.

Roles and duties for each of the above key tactical roles are listed below. They are categorised according to their suitability for different system fluidity levels and playing styles.

Tips for making your choices:

  • Try to choose roles and duties for which you have good player suitability.
  • To check player suitability for different roles and duties go to Tactics > Player tab and use the Role drop-down.

Further details:

General Purpose

These roles and duties are suitable for any playing style when using a more fluid or flexible playing system in particular. They can also be useful when using more structured playing systems if other options are lacking or not suitable for your players.

Covering water-carriers:

  • Defensive Midfielder (DM Defend)1 – slightly more suitable for defensive football and short plays
  • Central Midfielder (CM Defend)

Number-eight water-carriers:

  • Defensive Midfielder (DM Support)
  • Segundo Volante (Off-Centre DM Support)
  • Central Midfielder (CM Support)
  • Box To Box Midfielder (CM Support)1 – slightly more suitable for attacking football and short plays
  • Carrilero (Off-Centre CM Support)1,2 – slightly more suitable for attacking football and short plays

Creators:

  • Defensive Midfielder (DM Support)
  • Segundo Volante (Off-Centre DM Support)
  • Central Midfielder (CM Defend/Support)
  • Box To Box Midfielder (CM Support)1 – slightly more suitable for attacking football and short plays
  • Carrilero (Off-Centre CM Support)1,2 – slightly more suitable for attacking football and short plays

Others:

  • Central Midfielder (CM Attack)

1You may want to counteract this role’s tactical instructions with appropriate Playing Style Customisation if you use it for a ‘contrasting’ playing style – discussed later in this Starter Guide.

2This role instructs a particular type of player movement and is most suitable for one or two centre midfielders who are positioned in front of a defensive midfielder in a three- or four-man central midfield when no players are used in the wing midfielder (RM/LM) playing positions.

Attacking Football

These roles and duties are more suitable for attacking football when using a more structured or flexible playing system in particular.

Covering:

  • Deep Lying Playmaker (DM/CM Defend/Support)
  • Half Back (DM Defend)1,2 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football

Number-eights:

  • Ball Winning Midfielder (DM/CM Support)1 – slightly more suitable for direct attacking football
  • Regista (DM Support)
  • Roaming Playmaker (DM/CM Support)
  • Advanced Playmaker (CM Support/Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football

Water-carriers:

  • Ball Winning Midfielder (DM/CM Support)1 – slightly more suitable for direct attacking football
  • Half Back (DM Defend)1,2 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football

Creators:

  • Deep Lying Playmaker (DM/CM Defend/Support)
  • Regista (DM Support)
  • Roaming Playmaker (DM/CM Support)
  • Segundo Volante (Off-Centre DM Attack)
  • Advanced Playmaker (CM Support/Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Libero (SW Support/Attack)
  • Inverted Wing Back (FB/WB Support/Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Wide Playmaker (WM Support/Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Inverted Winger (WM Support/Attack)

Others:

  • Mezzala (Off-Centre CM Support/Attack)3

1You may want to counteract this role’s tactical instructions with appropriate Playing Style Customisation if you use it for a ‘contrasting’ playing style – discussed later in this Starter Guide.

2This role instructs a particular type of player movement and is most suitable for use in a three- or four-man central midfield with another central midfield water-carrier or a Central Midfielder (CM Attack).

3This role instructs a particular type of player movement and is most suitable for use with a lone wide player or Winger (WM/WF Support/Attack) on the same flank.

Defensive Football

These roles and duties are more suitable for defensive football when using a more structured or flexible playing system in particular.

Covering:

  • Anchor Man (DM Defend)
  • Half Back (DM Defend)2 – slightly more suitable for possession football

Number-eights:

  • Ball Winning Midfielder (DM/CM Support)1 – slightly more suitable for aggressive defensive football

Water-carriers:

  • Ball Winning Midfielder (DM/CM Defend/Support)1 – slightly more suitable for aggressive defensive football
  • Anchor Man (DM Defend)
  • Half Back (DM Defend)1,2 – slightly more suitable for possession football

Creators: none (see General Purpose roles and duties instead)

1You may want to counteract this role’s tactical instructions with appropriate Playing Style Customisation if you use it for a ‘contrasting’ playing style – discussed later in this Starter Guide.

2This role instructs a particular type of player movement and is most suitable for use in a three- or four-man central midfield with another central midfield water-carrier or a Central Midfielder (CM Attack).

Direct Plays

These roles and duties are more suitable for direct plays when using a more structured or flexible playing system in particular.

Covering:

  • Anchor Man (DM Defend)1 – slightly more suitable for long ball football

Number-eights:

  • Ball Winning Midfielder (DM/CM Support)

Water-carriers:

  • Ball Winning Midfielder (DM/CM Defend)1 – slightly more suitable for long ball football
  • Ball Winning Midfielder (DM/CM Support)
  • Anchor Man (DM Defend)1 – slightly more suitable for long ball football

Creators:

  • Segundo Volante (Off-Centre DM Attack)
  • Inverted Winger (WM Support/Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for direct attacking football

1You may want to counteract this role’s tactical instructions with appropriate Playing Style Customisation if you use it for a ‘contrasting’ playing style – discussed later in this Starter Guide.

Short Plays

These roles and duties are more suitable for short plays when using a more structured or flexible playing system in particular.

Covering:

  • Deep Lying Playmaker (DM/CM Defend/Support)
  • Anchor Man (DM Defend)1 – slightly more suitable for possession football
  • Half Back (DM Defend)2

Number-eights:

  • Regista (DM Support)
  • Roaming Playmaker (DM/CM Support)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Advanced Playmaker (CM Support)
  • Advanced Playmaker (CM Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football

Water-carriers:

  • Anchor Man (DM Defend)1 – slightly more suitable for possession football
  • Half Back (DM Defend)2

Creators:

  • Deep Lying Playmaker (DM/CM Defend/Support)
  • Regista (DM Support)
  • Roaming Playmaker (DM/CM Support)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Advanced Playmaker (CM Support)
  • Advanced Playmaker (CM Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Libero (SW Support)
  • Libero (SW Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Inverted Wing Back (FB/WB Support)
  • Inverted Wing Back (FB/WB Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Wide Playmaker (WM Support)
  • Wide Playmaker (WM Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Inverted Winger (WM Support/Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football

Others:

  • Mezzala (Off-Centre CM Support/Attack)3

1You may want to counteract this role’s tactical instructions with appropriate Playing Style Customisation if you use it for a ‘contrasting’ playing style – discussed later in this Starter Guide.

2This role instructs a particular type of player movement and is most suitable for use in a three- or four-man central midfield with another central midfield water-carrier or a Central Midfielder (CM Attack).

3This role instructs a particular type of player movement and is most suitable for use with a lone wide player or Winger (WM/WF Support/Attack) on the same flank.

Balancing The Flanks

Aim: to assign player roles and duties on the flanks that suit your system fluidity and playing style.

  • The flanks = deep wide players + advanced wide players
  • Deep wide players = full backs (FB) + wing backs (WB)
  • Advanced wide players = wing midfielders (WM) + wing forwards (WF)

To balance the flanks try to include each of the following key tactical roles in your tactic on each flank:

  • An attacking wide player
  • A wide creator

Each key tactical role can be given to more than one player and each player can be given more than one key tactical role, if you wish.

If you are using attacking football or short plays then consider using an attacking wide player in a deep wide player playing position (FB or WB), preferably with an Attack duty, behind a player on the same flank (or near the same flank if you only have one wide player on that flank) who is not instructed to Get Further Forward. The attacking wide player can then make overlapping forward runs that can help your team to create space.

If you are using defensive football or direct plays then consider using an attacking wide player in an advanced wide player playing position (WM or WF). The attacking wide player can then make forward runs at and behind the opposition team defence that can help your team to penetrate space more directly.

Roles and duties for each of the above key tactical roles are listed below. They are categorised according to their suitability for different system fluidity levels and playing styles.

Tips for making your choices:

  • Try to choose roles and duties for which you have good player suitability.
  • To check player suitability for different roles and duties go to Tactics > Player tab and use the Role drop-down.

Further details:

General Purpose

These roles and duties are suitable for any playing style when using a more fluid or flexible playing system in particular. They can also be useful when using more structured playing systems if other options are lacking or not suitable for your players.

Attacking:

  • Full Back (FB Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for attacking football and direct plays
  • Wing Back (FB/WB Support)
  • Wing Back (FB/WB Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for direct plays
  • Wide Midfielder (WM Attack)

Creators:

  • Full Back (FB Support)1 – slightly more suitable for attacking football and direct plays
  • Wing Back (FB/WB Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for direct plays
  • Wide Midfielder (WM Support)

Others:

  • Full Back (FB Defend)
  • Wing Back (FB/WB Defend)
  • Wide Midfielder (WM Defend)

1You may want to counteract this role’s tactical instructions with appropriate Playing Style Customisation if you use it for a ‘contrasting’ playing style – discussed later in this Starter Guide.

Attacking Football

These roles and duties are more suitable for attacking football when using a more structured or flexible playing system in particular.

Attacking:

  • Complete Wing Back (FB/WB Support/Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Winger (WM/WF Attack)1

Creators:

  • Complete Wing Back (FB/WB Support/Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Winger (WM/WF Support)1 – slightly more suitable for direct attacking football
  • Winger (WM/WF Attack)1
  • Defensive Winger (WM Defend/Support)
  • Trequartista (WF Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for cautious attacking football

Others:

  • Inverted Wing Back (FB/WB Defend/Support/Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Wide Playmaker (WM Support/Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Inverted Winger (WM Support/Attack)
  • Advanced Playmaker (WF Support/Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Inside Forward (WF Support/Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Raumdeuter (WF Attack)1,2 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football

1You may want to counteract this role’s tactical instructions with appropriate Playing Style Customisation if you use it for a ‘contrasting’ playing style – discussed later in this Starter Guide.

2This role instructs a particular type of player movement and is most suitable for use with a player in a central attacker playing position (AM/CF) who is not instructed to Get Further Forward or Hold Position, especially if the player is a centre forward and no player is used in an attacking midfielder playing position.

Defensive Football

These roles and duties are more suitable for defensive football when using a more structured or flexible playing system in particular.

Attacking:

  • Winger (WM/WF Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for long ball football
  • Wide Target Man (WF Attack)2

Creators:

  • Winger (WM/WF Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for long ball football
  • Wide Target Man (WF Support/Attack)2

Others:

  • Defensive Full Back (FB Defend)

1You may want to counteract this role’s tactical instructions with appropriate Playing Style Customisation if you use it for a ‘contrasting’ playing style – discussed later in this Starter Guide.

2This role instructs a focus on the use of physical presence and is most suitable for use with a deep wide player (FB/WB) who is not instructed to Hold Position or Roam From Position, along with two players in central attacker (AM/CF) playing positions.

Direct Plays

These roles and duties are more suitable for direct plays when using a more structured or flexible playing system in particular.

Attacking:

  • Complete Wing Back (FB/WB Support/Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for direct attacking football
  • Winger (WM/WF Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for long ball football
  • Wide Target Man (WF Attack)1,2 – slightly more suitable for long ball football

Creators:

  • Complete Wing Back (FB/WB Support/Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for direct attacking football
  • Winger (WM/WF Support)
  • Winger (WM/WF Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for long ball football
  • Defensive Winger (WM Defend/Support)
  • Wide Target Man (WF Support/Attack)1,2 – slightly more suitable for long ball football

Others:

  • Defensive Full Back (FB Defend)1 – slightly more suitable for long ball football
  • Inverted Winger (WM Support/Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for direct attacking football

1You may want to counteract this role’s tactical instructions with appropriate Playing Style Customisation if you use it for a ‘contrasting’ playing style – discussed later in this Starter Guide.

2This role instructs a focus on the use of physical presence and is most suitable for use with a deep wide player (FB/WB) who is not instructed to Hold Position or Roam From Position, along with two players in central attacker (AM/CF) playing positions.

Short Plays

These roles and duties are more suitable for short plays when using a more structured or flexible playing system in particular.

Attacking:

  • Complete Wing Back (FB/WB Support/Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football

Creators:

  • Complete Wing Back (FB/WB Support/Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Trequartista (WF Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football

Others:

  • Defensive Full Back (FB Defend)1 – slightly more suitable for possession football
  • Inverted Wing Back (FB/WB Defend/Support)
  • Inverted Wing Back (FB/WB Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Wide Playmaker (WM Support)
  • Wide Playmaker (WM Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Inverted Winger (WM Support/Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Advanced Playmaker (WF Support)
  • Advanced Playmaker (WF Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Inside Forward (WF Support/Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Raumdeuter (WF Attack)2

1You may want to counteract this role’s tactical instructions with appropriate Playing Style Customisation if you use it for a ‘contrasting’ playing style – discussed later in this Starter Guide.

2This role instructs a particular type of player movement and is most suitable for use with a player in a central attacker playing position (AM/CF) who is not instructed to Get Further Forward or Hold Position, especially if the player is a centre forward and no player is used in an attacking midfielder playing position.

Balancing Central Attack

Aim: to assign player roles and duties in central attack that suit your system fluidity and playing style.

  • Central attack = attacking midfielders (AM) + centre forwards (CF)

To balance central attack try to include each of the following key tactical roles in your tactic:

  • A number-nine central attacker
  • A central attack runner
  • A number-ten central attacker – either …
    • … A technical number-ten for attacking football and short plays
    • … A target-man for defensive football and direct plays
  • A spearhead central attacker

Each key tactical role can be given to more than one player and each player can be given more than one key tactical role, if you wish.

If you are using attacking football or short plays then consider using a number-nine central attacker in a deeper playing position (AM or WF) behind a player who is not instructed to Get Further Forward. The number-nine central attacker can then make overlapping forward runs that can help your team to create space.

If you are using defensive football or direct plays then consider using a number-nine central attacker in a more advanced playing position (CF). The number-nine central attacker can then make forward runs at and behind the opposition team defence that can help your team to penetrate space more directly.

Roles and duties for each of the above key tactical roles are listed below. They are categorised according to their suitability for different system fluidity levels and playing styles.

Tips for making your choices:

  • Try to choose roles and duties for which you have good player suitability.
  • To check player suitability for different roles and duties go to Tactics > Player tab and use the Role drop-down.

Further details:

General Purpose

These roles and duties are suitable for any playing style when using a more fluid or flexible playing system in particular. They can also be useful when using more structured playing systems if other options are lacking or not suitable for your players.

Number-nines:

  • Attacking Midfielder (AM Attack)
  • Deep Lying Forward (CF Attack)1
  • Advanced Forward (CF Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for attacking football

Runners:

  • Attacking Midfielder (AM Support)
  • Deep Lying Forward (CF Support)1
  • Central Midfielder (CM Attack)

Number-tens (technical):

  • Deep Lying Forward (CF Support)1

Number-tens (target-men):

  • Deep Lying Forward (CF Support)1
  • Deep Lying Forward (CF Attack)1

Spearheads:

  • Advanced Forward (CF Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for attacking football
  • Deep Lying Forward (CF Support)1
  • Deep Lying Forward (CF Attack)1

1You may want to counteract this role’s tactical instructions with appropriate Playing Style Customisation if you use it for a ‘contrasting’ playing style – discussed later in this Starter Guide.

Attacking Football

These roles and duties are more suitable for attacking football when using a more structured or flexible playing system in particular.

Number-nines:

  • Shadow Striker (AM Attack)
  • Complete Forward (CF Attack)
  • Inside Forward (WF Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Raumdeuter (WF Attack)1,2 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football

Runners:

  • Advanced Playmaker (WF Support/Attack / AM Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Trequartista (WF/AM/CF Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for cautious attacking football
  • Complete Forward (CF Support)
  • False Nine (CF Support)3
  • Mezzala (Off-Centre CM Support/Attack)4
  • Inverted Winger (WM Attack)
  • Inside Forward (WF Support)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football

Number-tens (technical):

  • Advanced Playmaker (CM/WF/AM Support/Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Trequartista (WF/AM/CF Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for cautious attacking football
  • Enganche (AM Attack)1,5 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Complete Forward (CF Support)
  • False Nine (CF Support)3
  • Mezzala (Off-Centre CM Attack)4
  • Inverted Wing Back (WB Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Wide Playmaker (WM Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Inside Forward (WF Support)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football

Number-tens (target-men):

  • Complete Forward (CF Support/Attack)

Spearheads:

  • Trequartista (CF Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for cautious attacking football
  • Complete Forward (CF Support/Attack)
  • False Nine (CF Support)3

1You may want to counteract this role’s tactical instructions with appropriate Playing Style Customisation if you use it for a ‘contrasting’ playing style – discussed later in this Starter Guide.

2This role instructs a particular type of player movement and is most suitable for use with a player in a central attacker playing position (AM/CF) who is not instructed to Get Further Forward or Hold Position, especially if the player is a centre forward and no player is used in an attacking midfielder playing position.

3This role instructs a particular type of player movement and is most suitable for use with an Inside Forward (WF Attack) or a Shadow Striker (AM Attack).

4This role instructs a particular type of player movement and is most suitable for use with a lone wide player or Winger (WM/WF Support/Attack) on the same flank.

5This role instructs a particular type of player movement and is most suitable for use with roles that instruct player movement around him such as Roaming Playmaker (CM), Box To Box Midfielder, Mezzala, Inverted Wing Back (WB Attack), Wide Playmaker, Inverted Winger, Advanced Playmaker (WF), Inside Forward, Trequartista, Raumdeuter, Advanced Forward and Complete Forward.

Defensive Football

These roles and duties are more suitable for defensive football when using a more structured or flexible playing system in particular.

Number-nines:

  • Target Man (CF Attack)2
  • Poacher (CF Attack)3

Runners:

  • Target Man (CF Support)2
  • Defensive Forward (CF Support)1,2 – slightly more suitable for aggressive defensive football

Number-tens (target-men):

  • Target Man (CF Support/Attack)2

Spearheads:

  • Target Man (CF Support/Attack)2

Others:

  • Defensive Forward (CF Defend)1,2 – slightly more suitable for aggressive defensive football

1You may want to counteract this role’s tactical instructions with appropriate Playing Style Customisation if you use it for a ‘contrasting’ playing style – discussed later in this Starter Guide.

2This role instructs a focus on the use of physical presence and is most suitable for use with an Attacking Midfielder, Advanced Playmaker (AM), Shadow Striker, Deep Lying Forward, Advanced Forward or Poacher.

3This role instructs a focus on the use of mobility and is most suitable for use with a Deep Lying Forward (CF Support) or Target Man (CF Support).

Direct Plays

These roles and duties are more suitable for direct plays when using a more structured or flexible playing system in particular.

Number-nines:

  • Target Man (CF Attack)1,2 – slightly more suitable for long ball football
  • Poacher (CF Attack)3

Runners:

  • Target Man (CF Support)1,2 – slightly more suitable for long ball football
  • Defensive Forward (CF Support)2
  • Inverted Winger (WM Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for direct attacking football

Number-tens (target-men):

  • Target Man (CF Support/Attack)1,2 – slightly more suitable for long ball football

Spearheads:

  • Target Man (CF Support/Attack)1,2 – slightly more suitable for long ball football

Others:

  • Defensive Forward (CF Defend)2

1You may want to counteract this role’s tactical instructions with appropriate Playing Style Customisation if you use it for a ‘contrasting’ playing style – discussed later in this Starter Guide.

2This role instructs a focus on the use of physical presence and is most suitable for use with an Attacking Midfielder, Advanced Playmaker (AM), Shadow Striker, Deep Lying Forward, Advanced Forward or Poacher.

3This role instructs a focus on the use of mobility and is most suitable for use with a Deep Lying Forward (CF Support) or Target Man (CF Support).

Short Plays

These roles and duties are more suitable for short plays when using a more structured or flexible playing system in particular.

Number-nines:

  • Shadow Striker (AM Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Complete Forward (CF Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Inside Forward (WF Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Raumdeuter (WF Attack)2

Runners:

  • Advanced Playmaker (WF Support)
  • Advanced Playmaker (WF/AM Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Trequartista (WF/AM/CF Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Complete Forward (CF Support)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • False Nine (CF Support)3
  • Mezzala (Off-Centre CM Support/Attack)4
  • Inverted Winger (WM Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Inside Forward (WF Support)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football

Number-tens (technical):

  • Advanced Playmaker (WF/AM Support)
  • Advanced Playmaker (CM/WF/AM Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Trequartista (WF/AM/CF Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Enganche (AM Attack)5
  • Complete Forward (CF Support)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • False Nine (CF Support)3
  • Advanced Playmaker (CM Support)
  • Mezzala (Off-Centre CM Attack)4
  • Inverted Wing Back (WB Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Wide Playmaker (WM Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Inside Forward (WF Support)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football

Number-tens (target-men):

  • Complete Forward (CF Support/Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football

Spearheads:

  • Trequartista (CF Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • Complete Forward (CF Support/Attack)1 – slightly more suitable for pass and move football
  • False Nine (CF Support)3

1You may want to counteract this role’s tactical instructions with appropriate Playing Style Customisation if you use it for a ‘contrasting’ playing style – discussed later in this Starter Guide.

2This role instructs a particular type of player movement and is most suitable for use with a player in a central attacker playing position (AM/CF) who is not instructed to Get Further Forward or Hold Position, especially if the player is a centre forward and no player is used in an attacking midfielder playing position.

3This role instructs a particular type of player movement and is most suitable for use with an Inside Forward (WF Attack) or a Shadow Striker (AM Attack).

4This role instructs a particular type of player movement and is most suitable for use with a lone wide player or Winger (WM/WF Support/Attack) on the same flank.

5This role instructs a particular type of player movement and is most suitable for use with roles that instruct player movement around him such as Roaming Playmaker (CM), Box To Box Midfielder, Mezzala, Inverted Wing Back (WB Attack), Wide Playmaker, Inverted Winger, Advanced Playmaker (WF), Inside Forward, Trequartista, Raumdeuter, Advanced Forward and Complete Forward.

Overall Forward Movement

Aim: to achieve a balance in the overall forward movement of your players.

Try to get a score of 1.00 or higher for the following:

Penetration score = the sum of your players’ contribution scores (detailed below) divided by 2.50

Solidity score = the sum of your players’ contribution scores (detailed below) divided by 4.00

Support score = the sum of your players’ contribution scores (detailed below) divided by 4.00

If any of these scores is below 1.00 then try to amend playing positions, roles and duties accordingly.

A slightly lower support score can be sufficient for the direct plays attacking style, while a slightly higher support score is recommended for the short plays attacking style.

Further details:

Contribution scores

  • CF (attack duties except Trequartista)
    • Penetration score contribution – 1.00
    • Solidity score contribution – 0.00
    • Support score contribution – 0.00
  • CF (support duties except False Nine)
  • CF (Trequartista)
  • AM/WF (attack duties except Advanced Playmaker, Trequartista, Enganche)
    • Penetration score contribution – 0.75
    • Solidity score contribution – 0.00
    • Support score contribution – 0.33
  • CF (defend duties)
  • CF (False Nine)
  • AM/WF (support duties except Advanced Playmaker (AM), Wide Target Man)
  • AM/WF (Advanced Playmaker (Attack), Trequartista, Enganche)
  • CM/WM (attack duties except Advanced Playmaker, Wide Playmaker)
    • Penetration score contribution – 0.50
    • Solidity score contribution – 0.00
    • Support score contribution – 0.67
  • AM/WF (Advanced Playmaker (AM Support), Wide Target Man (Support))
  • CM/WM (support duties except Deep Lying Playmaker)
  • CM/WM (Advanced Playmaker (Attack), Wide Playmaker (Attack))
  • DM/WB (attack duties)
  • DM/WB (Wing Back (Support), Complete Wing Back (Support))
    • Penetration score contribution – 0.25
    • Solidity score contribution – 0.25
    • Support score contribution – 1.00
  • CM/WM (defend duties)
  • CM/WM (Deep Lying Playmaker (Support))
  • DM/WB (support duties except Deep Lying Playmaker, Wing Back, Complete Wing Back)
  • SW/CB/FB (attack duties)
  • SW/CB/FB (Wing Back (Support), Complete Wing Back (Support))
    • Penetration score contribution – 0.00
    • Solidity score contribution – 0.50
    • Support score contribution – 0.67
  • DM/WB (defend duties except Half Back)
  • DM/WB (Deep Lying Playmaker (Support))
  • SW/CB/FB (support duties except Wing Back, Complete Wing Back)
    • Penetration score contribution – 0.00
    • Solidity score contribution – 0.75
    • Support score contribution – 0.33
  • DM/WB (Half Back)
  • SW/CB/FB (defend/stopper/cover duties)
    • Penetration score contribution – 0.00
    • Solidity score contribution – 1.00
    • Support score contribution – 0.00

Playing Style Customisation

Aim: to review your player roles and duties and set other tactical instructions if desired in order to ensure that your playing style is implemented appropriately.

If you wish then you can customise your playing style by implementing additional ‘style methods’. Style methods can be implemented by using tactical instructions, which include:

  • Player instructions – these are set by the player roles and duties that you assigned in the Playing System Balance section above (they can also be set manually, but this is not necessary and is not recommended for beginners).
  • Player roles and duties – these set player instructions, while some set ‘hidden’ tactical instructions. You have therefore already implemented some style methods by assigning player roles and duties.
  • Team instructions – these can be selected in the Team Instructions window which was introduced in the Playing Style section above.

The different style methods, along with the tactical instructions that implement them, are listed below. The style methods are arranged in opposing/contrasting pairs – in each pair instructions for style method 1 ‘counteract’ those for style method 2, and vice versa. This will be explained further later.

You can use this list to help you to implement style methods. However, you should first read to the end of this Playing Style Customisation section to decide which style methods you want to implement.

Style methods and tactical instructions:

  1. Roaming movement, etc.
    • Player instructions – Roam From Position, Move Into Channels
    • Other roles and duties – Carrilero
    • Team instructions – Roam From Positions
  2. Disciplined movement
    • Player instructions – Hold Position (ignore for your centre backs and one covering central midfielder, as this player instruction is standard for these players)
    • Team instructions – Stick To Positions
  1. Direct dribbles
    • Player instructions – Dribble More
    • Team instructions – Run At Defence
  2. Refraining from dribbles
    • Player instructions – Dribble Less
    • Team instructions – Dribble Less
  1. Lateral dribbles
    • Player instructions – Cut Inside With Ball (for wide players), Run Wide With Ball (for central players)
  2. Disciplined dribbles
    • Player instructions – Run Wide With Ball (for wide players)
  1. Risky passes
    • Player instructions – More Risky Passes
    • Team instructions – Pass Into Space
  2. Safe passes
    • Player instructions – Fewer Risky Passes
    • Team instructions – Retain Possession (also implements the short plays attacking style)
  1. Crosses
    • Player instructions – Cross More Often
    • Team instructions – Exploit The Left/Right Flank
  2. Refraining from crosses
    • Player instructions – Cross Less Often
    • Team instructions – Work Ball Into Box
  1. Crosses from deep
    • Player instructions – Cross From Deep
  2. Crosses from byline
    • Player instructions – Cross From Byline
  1. Speculative shots
    • Player instructions – Shoot More Often
    • Team instructions – Shoot On Sight
  2. Refraining from shots
    • Player instructions – Shoot Less Often
    • Team instructions – Work Ball Into Box
  1. Creative freedom
    • Roles and duties – Libero, Ball Playing Defender, Deep Lying Playmaker, Regista, Roaming Playmaker, Advanced Playmaker, Inverted Wing Back, Wide Playmaker, Trequartista, Enganche, Complete Forward, False Nine
    • Team instructions – Be More Expressive
  2. Tactical discipline
    • Roles and duties – Sweeper, Defensive Centre Back, Ball Winning Midfielder, Defensive Full Back, Poacher
    • Team instructions – Be More Disciplined
  1. Stepping up
    • Team instructions – Use Offside Trap
  2. Stepping back – no tactical instructions1
  1. Tight marking
    • Player instructions – Mark Tighter
    • Team instructions – Use Tighter Marking
  2. Loose marking – no tactical instructions1
  1. Tackling
    • Player instructions – Tackle Harder
    • Team instructions – Get Stuck In
  2. Holding off
    • Player instructions – Ease Off Tackles
    • Team instructions – Stay On Feet

1If you want to implement a style method for which there are no tactical instructions then you should instead simply avoid the implementation of the opposing style method.

Reviewing Your Player Roles & Duties

Before customising your playing style you should review what style methods have already been implemented by your choice of player roles and duties.

Note how many players you have performing each style method according to their roles, duties and player instructions, as per the list above.

UI: To do this go to Tactics > Players tab and click on the player icons on the formation diagram. You can check each player’s role and duty, along with his player instructions, to the right of the formation diagram.

You can now use appropriate tactical instructions from the list above to:

  • Counteract unwanted style methods that have been implemented by your player roles and duties – to do this use tactical instructions that implement the other (opposing) style method in the relevant pairing.
  • Implement style methods that have not been implemented by your player roles and duties.

For example, you may have more players who are instructed to Dribble Less than players who are instructed to Dribble More. This effectively means that the style method ‘refraining from dribbles’ is being implemented in your playing style.

But perhaps you would prefer to not implement this style method, or perhaps you would prefer to implement the opposing style method ‘direct dribbles’. You can amend your playing style accordingly either by using the Run At Defence team instruction or by increasing the use of roles and duties that use the Dribble More player instruction (or by decreasing the use of roles and duties that use the Dribble Less player instruction).

Similarly, if you want to implement a particular style method that, although not being opposed, is simply not being implemented by the roles and duties you are currently using then you can use the appropriate team instruction, or change some of your roles and duties, to implement it.

Note that if you use player instructions to amend roles and duties (rather than changing the roles and duties themselves) then you should be careful not to adversely affect your key tactical roles (which you assigned in the Balancing … (each positional area) sections above). Details of suitable and unsuitable player instructions for the different key tactical roles are provided in the Responsibility Distribution guides.

Approaches to playing style customisation (which type of tactical instructions to use) and suggested playing style customisations for different playing styles are discussed below.

Further details:

Approaches to Playing Style Customisation

There are three different approaches to playing style customisation. They are:

  • Using mainly team instructions – this approach is most appropriate for more fluid playing systems, where you can think of your team as being more like a single unit.
  • Using mainly roles and duties (and player instructions) – this approach is most appropriate for more structured playing systems, where more importance is placed on the individual contributions of your players.
  • Using a balanced mix of team instructions and roles and duties (and player instructions) – this approach is most appropriate for flexible playing systems.

Note that for some style methods the available tactical instructions are limited. Therefore, for such style methods, you may have to adapt your approach by using a different type of tactical instruction.

Further details:

Suggested Playing Style Customisations

Listed below are the suggested optional style methods to consider for each playing style.

Although each style method listed for your playing style is optional, for those that you do not implement it is recommended that you still try to restrict the implementation of their opposing style methods (the style methods that they are paired up with in the list above), unless your personal interpretations or preferences differ.

Attacking football:

  • Roaming movement, etc.
  • Direct dribbles
  • Lateral dribbles
  • Risky passes
  • Crosses
  • Crosses from deep
  • Speculative shots
  • Creative freedom
  • Stepping up
  • Tight marking
  • Tackling

Defensive football:

  • Disciplined movement
  • Refraining from dribbles
  • Disciplined dribbles
  • Safe passes
  • Refraining from crosses
  • Crosses from byline
  • Refraining from shots
  • Tactical discipline
  • Stepping back
  • Loose marking
  • Holding off

Short plays:

  • Roaming movement, etc.
  • Refraining from dribbles
  • Lateral dribbles
  • Risky passes
  • Refraining from crosses
  • Crosses from byline
  • Refraining from shots
  • Creative freedom

Direct plays:

  • Disciplined movement
  • Direct dribbles
  • Disciplined dribbles
  • Safe passes
  • Crosses
  • Crosses from deep
  • Speculative shots
  • Tactical discipline

Aggressive pressing:

  • Stepping up
  • Tight marking
  • Tackling

Containment:

  • Stepping back
  • Loose marking
  • Holding off

Direct attacking football:

  • Direct dribbles
  • Crosses
  • Crosses from deep
  • Speculative shots
  • Stepping up
  • Tight marking
  • Tackling

Pass and move football:

  • Roaming movement, etc.
  • Lateral dribbles
  • Risky passes
  • Creative freedom
  • Stepping up
  • Tight marking
  • Tackling

Long ball football:

  • Disciplined movement
  • Disciplined dribbles
  • Safe passes
  • Tactical discipline
  • Stepping back
  • Loose marking
  • Holding off

Possession football:

  • Refraining from dribbles
  • Refraining from crosses
  • Crosses from byline
  • Refraining from shots
  • Stepping back
  • Loose marking
  • Holding off

High pressure football: same as attacking football

Cautious attacking football:

  • Roaming movement, etc.
  • Direct dribbles
  • Lateral dribbles
  • Risky passes
  • Crosses
  • Crosses from deep
  • Speculative shots
  • Creative freedom

Aggressive defensive football:

  • Disciplined movement
  • Refraining from dribbles
  • Disciplined dribbles
  • Safe passes
  • Refraining from crosses
  • Crosses from byline
  • Refraining from shots
  • Tactical discipline

Parking-the-bus football: same as defensive football

Tips for making your choices:

  • Do not implement style methods just because they are listed above for your playing style. Understand what the related tactical instructions do and only select tactical instructions that are suitable for your team.
  • Information on what the tactical instructions do and details of their player suitability are provided in the Tactical Instructions guides.

Further details: