Adding Team & Player Instructions

The third stage of creating your tactic is to customise your tactical style by adding further team instructions and player instructions as appropriate for your playing style, your players and your personal preferences.

This involves first understanding playing styles, before then reviewing your tactical instructions and, if appropriate, setting further tactical instructions.

Understanding Playing Styles

Aim: to understand the relationships between tactical instructions and playing styles so that tactical instructions can be reviewed and added appropriately.

UI:

  • Tactics > Overview tab
    • In Possession panel
      • Enables you to view and set team instructions for when your team has possession.
    • Out Of Possession panel
      • Enables you to view and set team instructions for when the opposition team has possession.
  • Tactics > Player tab
    • Enables you to view and set player instructions for each playing position and player.

Most team instructions and player instructions, as well as some of the hidden instructions given by some player roles and duties, relate to particular style methods. The greater the extent to which such a tactical instruction is given, the greater the extent to which its related style method or methods are implemented.

Each style method has a contrasting style method and the two tend to be naturally suited to contrasting playing styles. For example, the player instructions Dribble More and Dribble Less relate to contrasting style methods. Dribble More tends to be naturally suited to attacking football, while Dribble Less tends to be naturally suited to defensive football.

Further details:

Playing Style Composition

The following “Playing Style Composition” table summarises pairs of contrasting style methods, along with the tactical instructions that implement them, the playing styles that they tend to be naturally suited to and the player attributes that are suitable for them.

You can use this table when reviewing your tactical instructions and setting further tactical instructions.

Playing Style Composition
Playing Style Composition
High risk mentality
Low risk mentality
Team instructions: Positive team mentality, Attacking team mentalityNatural styles: attacking football, direct attacking football, pass and move football, high pressure football, cautious attacking football

Neutral styles: direct plays, short plays, aggressive pressing, containment
Team instructions: Cautious team mentality, Defensive team mentalityNatural styles: defensive football, long ball football, possession football, aggressive defensive football, parking-the-bus football

Neutral styles: direct plays, short plays, aggressive pressing, containment
Attributes
Outfield players:
- Good mental, attacking and defensive abilities
- Perhaps poor physical abilities

Players in defence and midfield:
- Good movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork)
- Good defensive positioning (Positioning)
- Good tackling ability (Tackling)
- Perhaps poor physical presence (Strength)

Players in midfield and attack:
- Good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
- Good passing ability (Passing, Technique)
- Perhaps poor mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Pace)
Attributes
Outfield players:
- Good physical abilities
- Perhaps poor mental, attacking and defensive abilities

Players in defence and midfield:
- Good physical presence (Strength)
- Perhaps poor movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork)
- Perhaps poor defensive positioning (Positioning)
- Perhaps poor tackling ability (Tackling)

Players in midfield and attack:
- Good mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Pace)
- Perhaps poor creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
- Perhaps poor passing ability (Passing, Technique)

At least one STC:
- Good physical presence (Strength)
- Good aerial presence (Jumping Reach)
- Decent control (First Touch)
- Good hold-up play
Long passes
Short passes
Team instructions: increased team passing directness

Player instructions: increased player passing directness

Hidden instructions: focus play directly (to target-man focal role - the use of a Wide Target Man or Target Man indirectly increases the passing directness of teammates)
Natural styles: direct plays, direct attacking football, long ball football

Neutral styles: attacking football, defensive football
Team instructions: decreased team passing directness, Play Out Of Defence

Player instructions: decreased player passing directness
Natural styles: short plays, pass and move football, possession football

Neutral styles: attacking football, defensive football
Attributes
Players in midfield and attack in particular:
- Good endeavour (Aggression, Bravery, Work Rate)
- Good physical presence (Balance, Strength)
- Good aerial presence (Jumping Reach)
- Good mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace)
- Perhaps poor creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
- Perhaps poor movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork)
- Perhaps poor off the ball movement (Off The Ball)
- Perhaps poor control (First Touch, Technique)
- Perhaps poor passing ability (Passing, Technique)

At least one STC:
- Good physical presence (Strength)
- Good aerial presence (Jumping Reach)
- Decent control (First Touch)
- Good hold-up play
Attributes
Players in midfield and attack in particular:
- Good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
- Good movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork)
- Good off the ball movement (Off The Ball)
- Good control (First Touch, Technique)
- Good passing ability (Passing, Technique)
- Perhaps poor endeavour (Aggression, Bravery, Work Rate)
- Perhaps poor physical presence (Balance, Strength)
- Perhaps poor aerial presence (Jumping Reach)
- Perhaps poor mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace)

Players in defence and defensive midfield when playing out of defence:
- Good focus (Composure, Concentration)
- Decent awareness (Anticipation, Teamwork)
- Decent decision making (Decisions, Teamwork)
Closing down
Sitting off
Team instructions: increased team pressing intensity

Player instructions: increased player pressing intensity
Natural styles: aggressive pressing, high pressure football, aggressive defensive football

Neutral styles: attacking football, defensive football
Team instructions: decreased team pressing intensity

Player instructions: decreased player pressing intensity
Natural styles: containment, cautious attacking football, parking-the-bus football

Neutral styles: attacking football, defensive football
Attributes
Players in defence and midfield in particular:
- Good endeavour (Aggression, Bravery, Work Rate)
- Good mobility (Acceleration, Pace)
- Good closing down ability (Positioning)
- Perhaps poor focus (Composure, Concentration)
- Perhaps poor physical presence (Strength)
- Perhaps poor aerial presence (Jumping Reach)
- Perhaps poor marking ability (Marking)
- Perhaps poor clearing ability (Heading)

GK:
- Good One On Ones, Rushing Out, Anticipation, Decisions, Acceleration, Agility, Pace
- Perhaps poor Aerial Ability, Command of Area, Handling
Attributes
Players in defence and midfield in particular:
- Good focus (Composure, Concentration)
- Good physical presence (Strength)
- Good aerial presence (Jumping Reach)
- Good marking ability (Marking)
- Good clearing ability (Heading)
- Perhaps poor endeavour (Aggression, Bravery, Work Rate)
- Perhaps poor mobility (Acceleration, Pace)
- Perhaps poor closing down ability (Positioning)

GK:
- Good Aerial Ability, Command of Area, Handling
- Perhaps poor One On Ones, Rushing Out, Anticipation, Decisions, Acceleration, Agility, Pace
Pushing up from the back
Sitting deep at the back
Team instructions: increased team defensive line

Effect of team mentality:
more attacking mentalities increase team defensive line, more defensive mentalities decrease team defensive line
Natural styles: attacking football, short plays, aggressive pressing, pass and move football, high pressure football

Neutral styles: direct attacking football, possession football, cautious attacking football, aggressive defensive football
Team instructions: decreased team defensive line

Effect of team mentality:
more attacking mentalities increase team defensive line, more defensive mentalities decrease team defensive line
Natural styles: defensive football, direct plays, containment, long ball football, parking-the-bus football

Neutral styles: direct attacking football, possession football, cautious attacking football, aggressive defensive football
Attributes
Players in defence and defensive midfield in particular:
- Good endeavour (Aggression, Bravery, Work Rate)
- Good mobility (Acceleration, Pace)
- Good closing down ability (Positioning)
- Perhaps poor focus (Composure, Concentration)
- Perhaps poor physical presence (Strength)
- Perhaps poor aerial presence (Jumping Reach)
- Perhaps poor marking ability (Marking)
- Perhaps poor clearing ability (Heading)

Goalkeeper:
- Good One On Ones, Rushing Out, Anticipation, Decisions, Acceleration, Agility, Pace
- Perhaps poor Aerial Ability, Command of Area, Handling
Attributes
Players in defence and defensive midfield in particular:
- Good focus (Composure, Concentration)
- Good physical presence (Strength)
- Good aerial presence (Jumping Reach)
- Good marking ability (Marking)
- Good clearing ability (Heading)
- Perhaps poor endeavour (Aggression, Bravery, Work Rate)
- Perhaps poor mobility (Acceleration, Pace)
- Perhaps poor closing down ability (Positioning)

Goalkeeper:
- Good Aerial Ability, Command of Area, Handling
- Perhaps poor One On Ones, Rushing Out, Anticipation, Decisions, Acceleration, Agility, Pace
Pushing up from the front (defensive depth)
Sitting deep at the front (defensive depth)
Team instructions: increased team line of engagement

Effect of team mentality:
more attacking mentalities increase team line of engagement, more defensive mentalities decrease team line of engagement
Natural styles: attacking football, aggressive pressing, high pressure football

Neutral styles: cautious attacking football, aggressive defensive football
Team instructions: decreased team line of engagement

Effect of team mentality:
more attacking mentalities increase team line of engagement, more defensive mentalities decrease team line of engagement
Natural styles: defensive football, containment, parking-the-bus football

Neutral styles: cautious attacking football, aggressive defensive football
Attributes
Players in midfield and attack in particular:
- Good endeavour (Aggression, Bravery, Work Rate)
- Good mobility (Acceleration, Pace)
- Good closing down ability (Positioning)
- Perhaps poor focus (Composure, Concentration)
- Perhaps poor physical presence (Strength)
- Perhaps poor aerial presence (Jumping Reach)
- Perhaps poor marking ability (Marking)
- Perhaps poor clearing ability (Heading)
Attributes
Players in midfield and attack in particular:
- Good focus (Composure, Concentration)
- Good physical presence (Strength)
- Good aerial presence (Jumping Reach)
- Good marking ability (Marking)
- Good clearing ability (Heading)
- Perhaps poor endeavour (Aggression, Bravery, Work Rate)
- Perhaps poor mobility (Acceleration, Pace)
- Perhaps poor closing down ability (Positioning)
Wide positioning (attacking width)
Narrow positioning (attacking width)
Team instructions: increased team attacking width

Player instructions: Stay Wider

Effect of team mentality:
more attacking mentalities increase team attacking width, more defensive mentalities decrease team attacking width
Natural styles: attacking football, direct plays, direct attacking football

Neutral styles: pass and move football, long ball football
Team instructions: decreased team attacking width

Player instructions: Sit Narrower

Effect of team mentality:
more attacking mentalities increase team attacking width, more defensive mentalities decrease team attacking width
Natural styles: defensive football, short plays, possession football

Neutral styles: pass and move football, long ball football
Attributes
Players in midfield and attack in particular:
- Good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
- Good movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork)
- Good off the ball movement (Off The Ball)
- Good passing ability (Passing, Technique)

Players in defence and midfield in particular:
- Good movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork)
- Good defensive positioning (Positioning)
- Good marking ability (Marking)
Attributes
Players in midfield and attack in particular:
- Perhaps poor creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
- Perhaps poor movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork)
- Perhaps poor off the ball movement (Off The Ball)
- Perhaps poor passing ability (Passing, Technique)

Players in defence and midfield in particular:
- Perhaps poor movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork)
- Perhaps poor defensive positioning (Positioning)
- Perhaps poor marking ability (Marking)
Wide positioning (defensive width)
Narrow positioning (defensive width)
Team instructions: increased team defensive widthNatural styles: attacking football, aggressive pressing, high pressure football

Neutral styles: cautious attacking football, aggressive defensive football
Team instructions: decreased team defensive widthNatural styles: defensive football, containment, parking-the-bus football

Neutral styles: cautious attacking football, aggressive defensive football
Attributes
Players in defence and midfield in particular:
- Good endeavour (Aggression, Bravery, Work Rate)
- Good mobility (Acceleration, Pace)
- Good closing down ability (Positioning)
- Perhaps poor focus (Composure, Concentration)
- Perhaps poor physical presence (Strength)
- Perhaps poor aerial presence (Jumping Reach)
- Perhaps poor marking ability (Marking)
- Perhaps poor clearing ability (Heading)

GK:
- Good One On Ones, Rushing Out, Anticipation, Decisions, Acceleration, Agility, Pace
- Perhaps poor Aerial Ability, Command of Area, Handling
Attributes
Players in defence and midfield in particular:
- Good focus (Composure, Concentration)
- Good physical presence (Strength)
- Good aerial presence (Jumping Reach)
- Good marking ability (Marking)
- Good clearing ability (Heading)
- Perhaps poor endeavour (Aggression, Bravery, Work Rate)
- Perhaps poor mobility (Acceleration, Pace)
- Perhaps poor closing down ability (Positioning)

GK:
- Good Aerial Ability, Command of Area, Handling
- Perhaps poor One On Ones, Rushing Out, Anticipation, Decisions, Acceleration, Agility, Pace
High tempo play
Low tempo play
Team instructions: increased team tempo

Effect of team mentality:
more attacking mentalities increase team tempo, more defensive mentalities decrease team tempo


Effect of team passing directness:
increased team passing directness increases team tempo, decreased team passing directness decreases team tempo
Natural styles: attacking football, direct plays, direct attacking football

Neutral styles: pass and move football, long ball football
Team instructions: decreased team tempo

Effect of team mentality:
more attacking mentalities increase team tempo, more defensive mentalities decrease team tempo


Effect of team passing directness:
increased team passing directness increases team tempo, decreased team passing directness decreases team tempo
Natural styles: defensive football, short plays, possession football

Neutral styles: pass and move football, long ball football
Attributes
Players in midfield and attack in particular:
- Decent endeavour (Work Rate)
- Good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
- Good movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork)
- Good mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Pace)
- Good off the ball movement (Off The Ball)
- Good control (First Touch, Technique)
Attributes
Players in midfield and attack in particular:
- Perhaps poor endeavour (Work Rate)
- Perhaps poor creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
- Perhaps poor movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork)
- Perhaps poor mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Pace)
- Perhaps poor off the ball movement (Off The Ball)
- Perhaps poor control (First Touch, Technique)
Roaming movement, runs into channels
Disciplined movement
Player instructions: Roam From Position, Move Into Channels

Hidden instructions: make more runs into channels (Carrilero)
Natural styles: attacking football, short plays, pass and move football

Neutral styles: direct attacking football, possession football
Player instructions: Hold Position

Instructions that may be ignored:
the first three players instructed to Hold Position may be ignored because two players are typically given this instruction in central defence and one in central midfield
Natural styles: defensive football, direct plays, long ball football

Neutral styles: direct attacking football, possession football
Attributes
Players instructed to Roam From Position:
- Good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
- Good movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork)
- Good off the ball movement (Off The Ball)
- Perhaps poor defensive positioning (Positioning)
- Perhaps poor marking ability (Marking)

Players instructed to Move Into Channels:
- Good movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork)
- Good mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace)
- Good off the ball movement (Off The Ball)
- Perhaps poor defensive positioning (Positioning)
- Perhaps poor marking ability (Marking)
Attributes
Players instructed to Hold Position:
- Good movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork)
- Good defensive positioning (Positioning)
- Good marking ability (Marking)
- Perhaps poor mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace)
- Perhaps poor off the ball movement (Off The Ball)
Direct dribbles
Refraining from dribbles
Team instructions: Run At Defence

Player instructions: Dribble More
Natural styles: attacking football, direct plays, direct attacking football

Neutral styles: pass and move football, long ball football
Team instructions: Dribble Less

Player instructions: Dribble Less

Instructions that may be ignored:
the first two players instructed to Dribble Less may be ignored because two players are typically given this instruction in central defence and central midfield as a whole
Natural styles: defensive football, short plays, possession football

Neutral styles: pass and move football, long ball football
Attributes
Players in midfield and attack in particular, or players instructed to Dribble More:
- Decent creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair)
- Good mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace)
- Good dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique)
- Perhaps poor awareness (Teamwork, Vision)
- Perhaps poor passing ability (Passing)
Attributes
Players in midfield and attack in particular, or players instructed to Dribble Less:
- Perhaps poor creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair)
- Perhaps poor mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace)
- Perhaps poor dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique)
Lateral dribbles
Disciplined dribbles
Player instructions: Cut Inside With Ball (on the flanks), Run Wide With Ball (in central areas)Natural styles: attacking football, short plays, pass and move football

Neutral styles: direct attacking football, possession football
Player instructions: Run Wide With Ball (on the flanks)Natural styles: defensive football, direct plays, long ball football

Neutral styles: direct attacking football, possession football
Attributes
Players instructed to Cut Inside With Ball:
- Good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
- Decent mobility (Agility, Balance)
- Good dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique)
- Perhaps poor mobility (Acceleration, Pace)
- Perhaps poor crossing ability (Crossing, Technique)

Players instructed to Run Wide With Ball:
- Good mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace)
- Good crossing ability (Crossing, Technique)
- Good dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique)
- Perhaps poor creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
Attributes
Players instructed to Run Wide With Ball:
- Good mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace)
- Good crossing ability (Crossing, Technique)
- Good dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique)
- Perhaps poor creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
Passes into space
Passes to player
Team instructions: Pass Into Space

Player instructions: Take More Risks
Natural styles: attacking football, short plays, pass and move football

Neutral styles: direct attacking football, possession football
Player instructions: Take Fewer RisksNatural styles: attacking football, short plays, pass and move football

Neutral styles: direct attacking football, possession football
Attributes
Players not instructed to Get Further Forward in particular, or players instructed to Take More Risks:
- Good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
- Good passing ability (Passing, Technique)

Players instructed to Get Further Forward in particular, and players ahead of those instructed to Take More Risks:
- Good movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork)
- Good mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace)
- Good off the ball movement (Off The Ball)
Attributes
Players instructed to Take Fewer Risks:
- Perhaps poor creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
- Perhaps poor passing ability (Passing, Technique)
Crosses
Refraining from crosses
Player instructions: Cross More OftenNatural styles: attacking football, direct plays, direct attacking football

Neutral styles: pass and move football, long ball football
Team instructions: Work Ball Into Box

Player instructions: Cross Less Often

Work Ball Into Box also implements refraining from shots
Natural styles: defensive football, short plays, possession football

Neutral styles: pass and move football, long ball football
Attributes
Players instructed to Cross More Often:
- Good crossing ability (Crossing, Technique)
- Perhaps poor creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
Attributes
Players on the flanks, or players instructed to Cross Less Often:
- Good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
- Perhaps poor crossing ability (Crossing, Technique)

Players in central midfield and central attack in particular (when working the ball into the box):
- Good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
- Perhaps poor shooting ability (Finishing, Long Shots, Technique)
Crosses from deep
Crosses from byline
Team instructions: Hit Early Crosses

Player instructions: Cross From Deep
Natural styles: attacking football, direct plays, direct attacking football

Neutral styles: pass and move football, long ball football
Player instructions: Cross From BylineNatural styles: defensive football, short plays, possession football

Neutral styles: pass and move football, long ball football
Attributes
Players on the flanks, or players instructed to Cross From Deep:
- Good crossing ability (Crossing, Passing, Technique)
- Perhaps poor creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
- Perhaps poor mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace)
- Perhaps poor dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique)
Attributes
Players instructed to Cross From Byline:
- Good mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace)
- Good dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique)
- Perhaps poor creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
- Perhaps poor crossing ability (Crossing, Passing, Technique)
Cross type
Team instructions: Floated Crosses, Whipped Crosses, Low Crosses

Player instructions: Aim Crosses At Near Post, Aim Crosses At Centre, Aim Crosses At Far Post, Aim Crosses At Target Man
Used to specify the type of crosses to be made more frequently and where crosses should be aimed more frequently.The most suitable type of crosses and aim for crosses depends largely on the attributes of those players who play on the flank and those who play in central attack.
Attributes
Players on the flanks making floated crosses:
- Perhaps poor awareness (Anticipation, Teamwork, Vision)
- Perhaps poor decision making (Decisions, Flair, Teamwork)
- Perhaps poor crossing ability (Crossing, Passing, Technique)

Players in central attack receiving floated crosses:
- Good endeavour (Aggression, Bravery, Determination, Work Rate)
- Good physical presence (Strength)
- Good aerial presence (Jumping Reach)
- Good heading ability (Heading)
- Perhaps poor movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork)
- Perhaps poor mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace)
- Perhaps poor off the ball movement (Off The Ball)

Players on the flanks making whipped crosses:
- Good awareness (Anticipation, Teamwork, Vision)
- Good decision making (Decisions, Flair, Teamwork)
- Good crossing ability (Crossing, Passing, Technique)

Players in central attack receiving whipped crosses:
- Good movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork)
- Good mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace)
- Good off the ball movement (Off The Ball)
- Good heading ability (Heading, Technique)

Players on the flanks making low crosses:
- Perhaps poor awareness (Anticipation, Teamwork, Vision)
- Perhaps poor decision making (Decisions, Flair, Teamwork)
- Perhaps poor crossing ability (Crossing, Passing, Technique)

Players in central attack receiving low crosses:
- Good movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork)
- Good mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace)
- Good off the ball movement (Off The Ball)
- Good control (First Touch, Technique)
- Perhaps poor physical presence (Strength)
- Perhaps poor aerial presence (Jumping Reach)
- Perhaps poor heading ability (Heading, Technique)
Focusing play
Not focusing play
Team instructions: Focus Play Down The Left/Right, Focus Play Through The Middle

Hidden instructions: focus play (to playmaker focal role), focus play directly (to target-man focal role)

Focus play directly also indirectly increases passing directness for teammates

Playmaker focal roles:
Deep Lying Playmaker, Regista, Roaming Playmaker, Advanced Playmaker, Wide Playmaker, Trequartista and Enganche


Target-man focal roles:
Wide Target Man, Target Man
Neutral styles: all playing stylesNo instructionsNeutral styles: all playing styles
Attributes
Players on the flank(s) where play is being focused to:
- Good movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork)
- Good mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace)
- Good off the ball movement (Off The Ball)
- Good crossing ability (Crossing, Passing, Technique)
- Good dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique)
- Perhaps poor defensive positioning (Positioning)
- Perhaps poor marking ability (Marking)

Players in central areas focusing play to the flank(s):
- Perhaps poor intelligence and attacking abilities


Players in central areas where play is being focused to:
- Good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
- Good passing ability (Passing, Technique)
- Good movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork)
- Good mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace)
- Good off the ball movement (Off The Ball)

Players on the flanks focusing play to central areas:
- Perhaps poor intelligence and attacking abilities
- Good movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork)
- Good defensive positioning (Positioning)
- Good marking ability (Marking)
- Perhaps poor mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace)
- Perhaps poor off the ball movement (Off The Ball)
Speculative shots
Refraining from shots
Team instructions: Shoot On Sight

Player instructions: Shoot More Often

Instructions that may be ignored:
DCs and D(R/L)s instructed to Shoot More Often may be ignored if they are instructed to Hold Position (e.g. Defend/Stopper/Cover duties) because their deep positioning makes this instruction essentially irrelevant
Natural styles: attacking football, direct plays, direct attacking football

Neutral styles: pass and move football, long ball football
Team instructions: Work Ball Into Box

Player instructions: Shoot Less Often

Work Ball Into Box also implements refraining from crosses

Instructions that may be ignored:
DCs and D(R/L)s instructed to Shoot Less Often may be ignored if they are instructed to Hold Position (e.g. Defend/Stopper/Cover duties) because their deep positioning makes this instruction essentially irrelevant
Natural styles: defensive football, short plays, possession football

Neutral styles: pass and move football, long ball football
Attributes
Players in central midfield and central attack in particular, or players instructed to Shoot More Often:
- Good shooting ability (Finishing, Long Shots, Technique)
- Perhaps poor creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
Attributes
Players in central midfield and central attack in particular, or players instructed to Shoot Less Often:
- Good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
- Perhaps poor shooting ability (Finishing, Long Shots, Technique)

Players on the flanks (when working the ball into the box):
- Good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
- Perhaps poor crossing ability (Crossing, Technique)
Creative freedom
Tactical discipline
Team instructions: Be More Expressive

Hidden instructions: use more creative freedom
Natural styles: attacking football, short plays, pass and move football

Neutral styles: direct attacking football, possession football
Team instructions: Be More Disciplined

Hidden instructions: use more tactical discipline
Natural styles: defensive football, direct plays, long ball football

Neutral styles: direct attacking football, possession football
Attributes
Players in midfield and attack in particular:
- Good creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
- Good control (First Touch, Technique)
- Good passing ability (Passing, Technique)
- Good dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique)
- Good shooting ability (Finishing, Long Shots, Technique)
Attributes
Players in midfield and attack in particular:
- Perhaps poor creativity (Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork, Vision)
- Perhaps poor control (First Touch, Technique)
- Perhaps poor passing ability (Passing, Technique)
- Perhaps poor dribbling ability (Dribbling, Technique)
- Perhaps poor shooting ability (Finishing, Long Shots, Technique)
Sporting integrity
Wasting time
No instructionsNatural styles: attacking football, direct attacking football, pass and move football

Neutral styles: direct plays, short plays
Team instructions: increased team time wasting

Effect of team mentality:
more attacking mentalities decrease team time wasting, more defensive mentalities increase team time wasting
Natural styles: defensive football, long ball football, possession football

Neutral styles: direct plays, short plays
Playing for set pieces
Team instructions: Play For Set PiecesNatural styles: defensive football, long ball football, possession football

Neutral styles: direct plays, short plays
Attributes
Set piece takers:
- Good set piece taking (Corners, Free Kick Taking, Long Throws, as well as Crossing, Long Shots, Passing)

Players in the penalty area at attacking set pieces:
- Good physical presence (Strength)
- Good aerial presence (Jumping Reach)
- Good heading ability (Heading)
Stepping up
Stepping back
Team instructions: Use Offside TrapNatural styles: attacking football, aggressive pressing, high pressure football

Neutral styles: cautious attacking football, aggressive defensive football
No instructionsNatural styles: defensive football, containment, parking-the-bus football

Neutral styles: cautious attacking football, aggressive defensive football
Attributes
Players in defence:
- Good movement (Anticipation, Decisions, Teamwork)
- Good mobility (Acceleration, Pace)
- Good defensive positioning (Positioning)
Man marking
Zonal marking
Player instructions: Mark Specific Player, Mark Specific PositionNeutral styles: all playing styles (used as a match strategy only)No instructionsNeutral styles: all playing styles
Attributes
Players instructed to Mark Specific Player/Position
- Good focus (Concentration)
- Good endeavour (Aggression, Bravery, Work Rate)
- Good movement (Anticipation, Decisions)
- Good physical presence (Balance, Strength)
- Good aerial presence (Jumping Reach)
- Good mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace)
- Good defensive positioning (Positioning)
- Good marking ability (Marking)
- Good tackling ability (Tackling)
Tight marking
Loose marking
Team instructions: Use Tighter Marking

Player instructions: Mark Tighter
Natural styles: attacking football, aggressive pressing, high pressure football

Neutral styles: cautious attacking football, aggressive defensive football
No instructionsNatural styles: defensive football, containment, parking-the-bus football

Neutral styles: cautious attacking football, aggressive defensive football
Attributes
Players in defence and midfield in particular, or players instructed to Mark Tighter:
- Good focus (Concentration)
- Good endeavour (Aggression, Bravery, Work Rate)
- Good movement (Anticipation, Decisions)
- Good physical presence (Balance, Strength)
- Good aerial presence (Jumping Reach)
- Good mobility (Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Pace)
- Good defensive positioning (Positioning)
- Good marking ability (Marking)
- Good tackling ability (Tackling)
Tackling
Holding off
Team instructions: Get Stuck In

Player instructions: Tackle Harder
Natural styles: attacking football, aggressive pressing, high pressure football

Neutral styles: cautious attacking football, aggressive defensive football
Team instructions: Stay On Feet

Player instructions: Ease Off Tackles
Natural styles: defensive football, containment, parking-the-bus football

Neutral styles: cautious attacking football, aggressive defensive football
Attributes
Players in defence and midfield in particular, or players instructed to Tackle Harder:
- Good endeavour (Aggression, Bravery, Work Rate)
- Good awareness (Anticipation)
- Good decision making (Decisions)
- Good physical presence (Balance, Strength)
- Good tackling ability (Tackling)
Attributes
Players in defence and midfield in particular, or players instructed to Ease Off Tackles:
- Perhaps poor endeavour (Aggression, Bravery, Work Rate)
- Perhaps poor awareness (Anticipation)
- Perhaps poor decision making (Decisions)
- Perhaps poor physical presence (Balance, Strength)
- Perhaps poor tackling ability (Tackling)
Mixed style methods
Team instructions: Overlap Left/Right, Underlap Left/RightUsed to emphasise overlapping partnerships on the flanks and specify the side on which the overlapping partner moves past the ancillary partner (outside for Overlap and inside for Underlap).Overlap Left/Right can combine well with the crosses from byline style method.

Underlap Left/Right can combine well with the refraining from crosses style method.
Transition instructions
Team instructions: various instructions in the In Transition panel and Prevent Short GK Distribution in the Out Of Possession panelThe use of these instructions will be discussed in the Transition Tactics guide.

Reviewing Tactical Instructions

Aim: to analyse the playing style that has been implemented by the tactical instructions that you have previously set so that further tactical instructions can be set appropriately.

The team instructions that you set when choosing your playing style and the player instructions and hidden instructions that you set when choosing your roles and duties will have already implemented various style methods to various extents.

You can analyse the implementation of these style methods by:

  1. Listing each pair of contrasting style methods in the “Playing Style Composition” table above, while identifying which style method is ‘natural’ for your playing style and which is ‘contrasting’, or identifying both as ‘neutral’ where relevant;
  2. Listing below each style method its related player instructions and hidden instructions;
  3. Noting next to each instruction the number of players who have been given the instruction and identifying the relevant roles/duties; and
  4. Similarly, noting the effects of your team instructions as appropriate (the effects of team instructions can outweigh the effects of any contrasting player instructions so this should be taken into account).

An example of such an analysis is given below.

Your analysis should show you clearly which style methods have been implemented to a greater extent than their contrasting style methods and how they have been implemented.

In particular, it should show you which ‘natural’ style methods have not currently been implemented to a greater extent than their contrasting style methods and, furthermore, which of these style methods have actually been implemented to a lesser extent than their contrasting style methods.

You can also review your individual players’ suitability for the style methods that have been implemented and consider your own personal preferences regarding which style methods may or may not be suitable for the way you want your team to play.

Example – Aggressive Possession Football (Part One)

Summary of Tactic

Playing style:

  • Combination of defensive football, short plays and aggressive pressing
    • Team mentality – Cautious (defensive football)
    • Team passing directness – Shorter Passing (short plays) and Play Out Of Defence
    • Team pressing intensity – More Urgent (aggressive pressing)
    • Look for possession football (defensive football combined with short plays) and aggressive defensive football (defensive football combined with aggressive pressing) in the “Playing Style Composition” table above).

Formation:

  • 4-1-4-1 DM Wide
    • 4 Ds / 1 DMC / 2 MCs / 2 AM(R/L)s / 1 STC
    • Neutral formation (neither more attacking nor more defensive before other tactical instructions) – helps the team to invite more pressure with defensive football while applying more pressure with aggressive pressing.

Player roles and duties:

  • GK – Goalkeeper (Defend)
  • DR – Wing Back (Attack)
  • DCR – Central Defender (Defend)
  • DCL – Ball Playing Defender (Defend)
  • DL – Wing Back (Support)
  • DMC – Anchor Man (Defend)
  • MCR – Central Midfielder (Support)
  • MCL – Central Midfielder (Attack)
  • AMR – Inside Forward (Support) – technical number-ten
  • AML – Inverted Winger (Attack)
  • STC – Pressing Forward (Support) – target-man

Analysis of Style Methods

  • Natural – low risk mentality:
    • Cautious team mentality.
  • Contrasting – high risk mentality.
  • Natural – short passes:
    • Decreased player passing directness – 0 players.
    • Shorter Passing (team instruction).
    • Play Out Of Defence.
    • Note that it is the team instructions that are important here. If a player is given increased passing directness it would be outweighed by the effects of the decreased team passing directness.
  • Contrasting – long passes.
    • Increased player passing directness – 0 players.
  • Natural – closing down:
    • Increased player pressing intensity – 1 player (Pressing Forward).
    • More Urgent (team instruction).
    • Note that it is the team instruction that is important here. If a player is given decreased pressing intensity it would be outweighed by the effects of the increased team pressing intensity.
  • Contrasting – sitting off.
    • Decreased player pressing intensity – 0 players.
  • Natural – narrow positioning (attacking width):
    • Sit Narrower0 players.
    • Team attacking width – note that the Cautious team mentality automatically decreases team attacking width to a small extent.
  • Contrasting – wide positioning (attacking width):
    • Stay Wider0 players.
  • Natural – low tempo play:
    • 0 players.
    • Team tempo – note that the Cautious team mentality and Shorter team passing directness both automatically decrease team tempo to a small extent.
  • Contrasting – high tempo play:
    • 0 players.
  • Natural – refraining from dribbles:
    • Dribble Less0 players of note (2 players are instructed to Dribble Less but they are ignored because the use of 2 such players is typical).
  • Contrasting – direct dribbles:
    • Dribble More3 players (Wing Back (Attack), Inside Forward, Inverted Winger).
  • Natural – refraining from crosses:
    • Cross Less Often1 player (Inside Forward).
  • Contrasting – crosses:
    • Cross More Often1 player (Wing Back (Attack)).
  • Natural – crosses from byline:
    • Cross From Byline1 player (Wing Back (Attack)).
  • Contrasting – crosses from deep:
    • Cross From Deep0 players.
  • Natural – refraining from shots:
    • Shoot Less Often1 player of note (Anchor Man) (Central Defender is essentially irrelevant to its deep positioning).
  • Contrasting – speculative shots:
    • Shoot More Often0 players.
  • Natural – wasting time:
    • 0 players.
    • Note that the Cautious team mentality automatically increases team time wasting to a small extent.
  • Contrasting – sporting integrity:
    • 0 players.
  • Natural – playing for set pieces:
    • 0 players.
  • Contrasting – sporting integrity:
    • 0 players.
  • Neutral – pushing up from the back:
    • 0 players.
  • Neutral – sitting deep at the back:
    • 0 players.
    • Note that the Cautious team mentality automatically decreases team defensive line to a small extent.
  • Neutral – pushing up from the front (defensive depth):
    • 0 players.
  • Neutral – sitting deep at the front (defensive depth):
    • 0 players.
    • Note that the Cautious team mentality automatically decreases team line of engagement to a small extent.
  • Neutral – wide positioning (defensive width):
    • 0 players.
  • Neutral – narrow positioning (defensive width):
    • 0 players.
  • Neutral – roaming movement, runs into channels:
    • Roam From Position0 players.
    • Move Into Channels0 players.
  • Neutral – disciplined movement:
    • Hold Position0 players of note (3 players are instructed to Hold Position but they are ignored because the use of 3 such players is typical).
  • Neutral – lateral dribbles:
    • Cut Inside With Ball (on the flanks) – 2 players (Inside Forward, Inverted Winger).
    • Run Wide With Ball (in central areas) – 0 players.
  • Neutral – disciplined dribbles:
    • Run Wide With Ball (on the flanks) – 2 players (2 Wing Backs).
  • Neutral – passes into space:
    • Take More Risks2 players (Ball Playing Defender, Inside Forward).
  • Neutral – passes to player:
    • Take Fewer Risks1 player (Anchor Man).
  • Neutral – focusing play:
    • Focus play to an advanced-playmaker / target-man focal role – 0 players
  • Neutral – not focusing play.
  • Neutral – creative freedom:
    • Use more creative freedom – 1 player (Ball Playing Defender).
  • Neutral – tactical discipline:
    • Use more tactical discipline – 0 players.
  • Neutral – stepping up:
    • 0 players.
  • Neutral – stepping back:
    • 0 players.
  • Neutral – man marking:
    • Mark Specific Player/Position0 players
  • Neutral – zonal marking:
    • 0 players.
  • Neutral – tight marking:
    • Mark Tighter0 players.
  • Neutral – loose marking:
    • 0 players.
  • Neutral – tackling:
    • Tackle Harder1 player (Pressing Forward).
  • Neutral – holding off:
    • Ease Off Tackles0 players.

From the above lists it can be seen that the ‘natural’ style methods refraining from dribbles, refraining from crosses and playing for set pieces have not currently been implemented to a greater extent than their contrasting style methods.

Furthermore, refraining from dribbles has actually been implemented to a lesser extent than its contrasting style method.

The ‘natural’ style methods crosses from byline and refraining from shots have been implemented to a greater extent than their contrasting style methods.

Passes into space, creative freedom, tackling, sitting deep at the back and sitting deep at the front have also been implemented to a greater extent than their contrasting style methods. However, these style methods have no particular tendency to either suit or contrast with the playing style.

Setting Further Tactical Instructions

Aim: to use your analysis of your existing playing style to help you to set further team instructions and player instructions, as appropriate for your playing style, players and personal preferences.

You can use the “Playing Style Composition” table above to set further tactical instructions that either:

  • Add or emphasise style methods that tend to be naturally suited to your playing style, are suitable for your players and complement your personal preferences; or
  • Reverse style methods that tend to be naturally suited to contrasting playing styles, are unsuitable for particular players or do not complement your personal preferences.

Setting Further Team Instructions

Setting further team instructions can be particularly useful for:

  • Adding style methods that cannot be added by player instructions.
  • Adding style methods that you want to be implemented to a greater extent by your players in general rather than by particular players.
  • Reversing style methods that have been implemented by player roles and duties and player instructions.

Setting Further Player Instructions

Setting further player instructions can be particularly useful for:

  • Adding or reversing style methods that cannot be added or reversed by team instructions.
  • Adding style methods that you want to be implemented by particular players who have suitable playing attributes or who may implement them more effectively due to their positions, roles and duties.
  • Reversing style methods that have been implemented by team instructions but are unsuitable for particular players’ playing attributes or may be implemented less effectively by particular players due to their positions, roles and duties.

However, it is often the case that there is no need to set further player instructions, as the instructions set by your player roles and duties and when balancing your playing system, along with any team instructions that you set to adjust your playing style, are usually sufficient.

Setting further player instructions can also be problematic. For instance, they may become inappropriate after you make tactical changes and you may forget that they are still set.

Furthermore, it is important to be careful when setting further player instructions for a player who you are using to carry out a particular positional responsibility, as you may adversely affect his ability to carry out that positional responsibility.

Unsuitable Player Instructions

You can use the following “Unsuitable Player Instructions” table to check whether you are adversely affecting particular positional responsibilities with a player instruction.

Note that the positional areas stated in the table cover players in all playing positions in that area plus other players who carry out positional responsibilities in the area after moving into it; for example, an Inside Forward moving into central attack.

Unsuitable Player Instructions
Positional ResponsibilityInstructions to AvoidOther Unsuitable InstructionsAtypical Instructions
Explanation:(prevent a player carrying out the responsibility)(hinder a player from carrying out the responsibility)(cause a player to carry out the responsibility in an unusual way)
Providing attacking cover ...
... in all positional areasGet Further Forward
Roam From Position
Move Into ChannelsDribble More
... on the flanks onlyStay Wider
Providing defensive coverIncreased player pressing intensityMark Specific Player/Position
Mark Tighter
Tackle Harder
Applying defensive pressureDecreased player pressing intensityEase Off Tackles
Stretching play ...
... in all positional areasHold PositionDribble Less
... on the flanks onlySit Narrower
Playing safe ...
... in all positional areasTake More RisksDribble More
Increased player passing directness (unless Take Fewer Risks is set)
Roam From Position
Move Into Channels
... on the flanks onlyCross More Often
... in central midfield and central attack onlyShoot More Often
Creating chances ...
... in all positional areasDribble Less
Decreased player passing directness
... in central positional areas onlyTake Fewer Risks
... on the flanks onlyCross Less OftenTake Fewer Risks
... in central midfield and central attack onlyShoot More Often
Taking chances (in central midfield and central attack only)Shoot Less OftenHold Position
Dribble Less
Hold Up Ball

Example – Aggressive Possession Football (Part Two)

Further Tactical Instructions Set

Further team instructions:

  • Narrow team attacking width
    • Used to emphasise the narrow positioning (attacking width) style method which suits the playing style.
  • Dribble Less
    • Used to reverse the direct dribbles style method which contrasts with the playing style.
  • Work Ball Into Box
    • Used to add the refraining from crosses style method and emphasise the refraining from shots style method which both suit the playing style.
  • Lower team line of engagement
    • Used to emphasise the sitting deep at the front (defensive depth) style method as a personal preference.
  • Lower team defensive line
    • Used to emphasise the sitting deep at the back style method as a personal preference.

A low block (decreased team defensive line and line of engagement) has been emphasised as a personal preference due to wanting the team to focus more on winning back possession in deeper areas and attacking (or counter attacking) into available space behind opposition team players.

Further player instructions: none – there is no particular reason to add player instructions in this example.

However, if either the Central Midfielder (Attack) or Inverted Winger has suitable playing attributes for the speculative shots style method then we could implement the refraining from shots style method to a slightly lesser extent by instructing him to Shoot More Often, as long as this was in line with our personal preferences. Note that the Central Midfielder (Support), who creates chances in central midfield, the Inside Forward, who creates chances as a technical number-ten, and the Pressing Forward, who creates chances as a target-man, are not considered for the Shoot More Often instruction as it is atypical for creating chances.