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. It is also important to consider playing style risk when adding team and player 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, including some of the hidden player 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.

Most style methods have a contrasting style method, with one being higher risk and the other being lower risk, 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 (higher risk) tends to be naturally suited to attacking football and direct plays attacking, while Dribble Less (lower risk) tends to be naturally suited to defensive football and short plays attacking.

The risk associated with style methods will be discussed further later in this guide.

Further details:

  • Playing Styles – tactical theory guide.
  • Core Styles – tactical theory guide including naturally suited style methods for attacking football and defensive football.
  • Attacking Styles – tactical theory guide including naturally suited style methods for direct plays attacking and short plays attacking.
  • Defensive Styles – tactical theory guide including naturally suited style methods for aggressive defending and cautious defending.
  • Composite Styles – tactical theory guide including naturally suited style methods for direct attacking football, pass and move football, long ball football, possession football, high pressure football, cautious attacking football, aggressive defensive football and parking-the-bus football.

Playing Style Composition

The following “Playing Style Composition” table summarises pairs of contrasting style methods (“higher risk style methods” on the left / “lower risk style methods” on the right), along with the tactical instructions that implement them and the playing styles that they tend to be naturally suited to.

A few independent style methods (“balanced risk style methods”) are also included and analysed similarly.

You can use this table when reviewing your tactical instructions and setting further tactical instructions. You can also refer to the tactical theory guides linked to under further details above for a list of the naturally suited style methods for each playing style.

Playing Style Composition
Playing Style Composition
HIGHER RISK STYLE METHODS
LOWER RISK STYLE METHODS
Core Styles (in and out of possession)
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 attacking, short plays attacking, aggressive defending, cautious defending
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 attacking, short plays attacking, aggressive defending, cautious defending
Attacking Styles (in possession)
Long passes
Short passes
Team instructions: increased team passing directness

Player instructions: increased player passing directness

Related style methods:
Focusing play - "focus play directly (to target-man focal role)" indirectly increases the passing directness of teammates
Natural styles: direct plays attacking, direct attacking football, long ball football

Neutral styles: attacking football, defensive football
Team instructions: decreased team passing directness

Player instructions: decreased player passing directness

Related style methods:
Playing out of danger - Play Out Of Defence decreases passing directness for D(C/R/L)s, DMCs and WB(R/L)s
Natural styles: short plays attacking, pass and move football, possession football

Neutral styles: attacking football, defensive football
Defensive Styles (out of possession)
Closing down
Sitting off
Team instructions: increased team pressing intensity

Player instructions: increased player pressing intensity
Natural styles: aggressive defending, 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: cautious defending, cautious attacking football, parking-the-bus football

Neutral styles: attacking football, defensive football
Additional Style Methods (in possession)
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


Instructions that may be ignored:
one off-centre M/AM/ST(C) on each side instructed to Stay Wider to provide support to a lone D/WB(R/L) may be ignored as this offsets the narrow formation
Natural styles: attacking football, direct plays attacking, 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 attacking, possession football

Neutral styles: pass and move football, long ball football
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 attacking, 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 attacking, possession football

Neutral styles: pass and move football, long ball football
Roaming movement, runs into channels
Disciplined movement
Team instructions: Be More Expressive (roaming movement)

Player instructions: Roam From Position (roaming movement), Move Into Channels (runs into channels)

Hidden player instructions: "make more roaming movement laterally" (Carrilero)

Be More Expressive also implements creative freedom.
Natural styles: attacking football, short plays attacking, pass and move football

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

Player instructions: Hold Position

Hidden player instructions: "make more disciplined movement" (Advanced Playmaker)

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


Be More Disciplined also implements tactical discipline.
Natural styles: defensive football, direct plays attacking, long ball football

Neutral styles: direct attacking football, possession football
Direct dribbles
Refraining from dribbles
Team instructions: Run At Defence

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

Neutral styles: pass and move football, long ball football
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 attacking, 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 attacking, long ball football

Neutral styles: direct attacking football, possession football
Passes into space
Passes to player
Team instructions: Pass Into Space

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

Neutral styles: direct attacking football, possession football
Player instructions: Take Fewer RisksNatural styles: defensive football, direct plays attacking, long ball football

Neutral styles: direct attacking football, possession football
Crosses, crosses from deep
Refraining from crosses, crosses from byline
Team instructions: Hit Early Crosses (crosses and crosses from deep)

Player instructions: Cross More Often (crosses), Cross From Deep (crosses from deep)
Natural styles: attacking football, direct plays attacking, direct attacking football

Neutral styles: pass and move football, long ball football
Team instructions: Work Ball Into Box (refraining from crosses)

Player instructions: Cross Less Often (refraining from crosses), Cross From Byline (crosses from byline)

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

Neutral styles: pass and move football, long ball football
The Floated Crosses, Whipped Crosses and Low Crosses team instructions and the Aim Crosses At ... player instructions can be used to specify the type of crosses to be made more frequently and where crosses should be aimed more frequently. The most suitable of these instructions depends largely on the attributes of those players who play on the flank and those who play in central attack.

The Overlap Left/Right team instruction can combine well with the crosses from byline style method, while the Underlap Left/Right team instruction can combine well with the refraining from crosses style method. They are used to emphasise overlapping partnerships on the flanks and specify the side on which the attacking partner moves past the ancillary partner (outside for Overlap and inside for Underlap).
Playing out of danger
Clearances
Team instructions: Play Out Of Defence

Play Out Of Defence decreases passing directness for D(C/R/L)s, DMCs and WB(R/L)s
Natural styles: short plays attacking, pass and move football, possession football

Neutral styles: attacking football, defensive football
No instructionsNatural styles: direct plays attacking, direct attacking football, long ball football

Neutral styles: attacking football, defensive football
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 attacking, 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 attacking, possession football

Neutral styles: pass and move football, long ball football
Creative freedom
Tactical discipline
Team instructions: Be More Expressive

Hidden player instructions: "use more creative freedom" (Sweeper Keeper, Libero, Ball Playing Defender, Deep Lying Playmaker, Regista, Roaming Playmaker, Advanced Playmaker, Complete Wing Back, Inverted Wing Back, Wide Playmaker, Trequartista, Enganche, Complete Forward, False Nine)

Be More Expressive also implements roaming movement.
Natural styles: attacking football, short plays attacking, pass and move football

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

Hidden player instructions: "use more tactical discipline" (No-Nonsense Centre Back, Ball Winning Midfielder, No-Nonsense Full Back, Poacher)

Be More Disciplined also implements disciplined movement.
Natural styles: defensive football, direct plays attacking, long ball football

Neutral styles: direct attacking football, possession football
Sporting integrity
Wasting time
No instructionsNatural styles: attacking football, direct attacking football, pass and move football

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

Neutral styles: direct plays attacking, short plays attacking
Additional Style Methods (in and out of possession)
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 attacking, aggressive defending, 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 attacking, cautious defending, long ball football, parking-the-bus football

Neutral styles: direct attacking football, possession football, cautious attacking football, aggressive defensive football
Additional Style Methods (out of possession)
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 defending, 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, cautious defending, parking-the-bus football

Neutral styles: cautious attacking football, aggressive defensive football
Wide positioning (defensive width)
Narrow positioning (defensive width)
Team instructions: increased team defensive widthNatural styles: attacking football, aggressive defending, high pressure football

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

Neutral styles: cautious attacking football, aggressive defensive football
Stepping up
Stepping back
Team instructions: Use Offside TrapNatural styles: attacking football, aggressive defending, high pressure football

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

Neutral styles: cautious attacking football, aggressive defensive football
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
Tight marking
Loose marking
Team instructions: Use Tighter Marking

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

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

Neutral styles: cautious attacking football, aggressive defensive football
Tackling
Holding off
Team instructions: Get Stuck In

Player instructions: Tackle Harder
Natural styles: attacking football, aggressive defending, 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, cautious defending, parking-the-bus football

Neutral styles: cautious attacking football, aggressive defensive football
BALANCED RISK STYLE METHODS
Additional Style Methods (in possession)
Collecting the ball
Hidden player instructions: "collect the ball more" (Deep Lying Playmaker, Regista, Roaming Playmaker, Advanced Playmaker, Wide Playmaker, Trequartista)
Natural styles: short plays attacking, pass and move football, possession football

Neutral styles: attacking football, defensive football

However, in direct plays attacking, direct attacking football and long ball football you may want to focus play through a player instructed to "collect the ball more" so he can help to control your team's use of long passes and make short passes when appropriate.
Dropping deep
Hidden player instructions: "drop deep more" (Half Back, False Nine)
Natural styles: short plays attacking, pass and move football, possession football

Neutral styles: attacking football, defensive football
Dribbles into channels
Hidden player instructions: "make more dribbles into channels"

"Make more dribbles into channels" is set by the Move Into Channels player instruction.
Natural styles: direct plays attacking, direct attacking football, long ball football

Neutral styles: attacking football, defensive football

However, in short plays attacking, pass and move football and possession football you may want to use a player instructed to "make more dribbles into channels" as they are natural/neutral styles for the Move Into Channels player instruction.
Carrying the ball
Hidden player instructions: "carry the ball more" (Ball Playing Defender, Roaming Playmaker, Segundo Volante)
Natural styles: short plays attacking, pass and move football, possession football

Neutral styles: attacking football, defensive football

However, in direct plays attacking, direct attacking football and long ball football you may want to use a DC instructed to "carry the ball more" to take the ball in front of the defence in order to attempt more direct, risky passes, or a DMC/MC instructed to "carry the ball more" to help to move the ball forward from central midfield if there is no teammate positioned immediately ahead of him.
Hold-up play
Player instructions: Hold Up Ball

Hold-up play can be used to perform creating chances in central attack from the STC position, which is most useful if you are using defensive football or direct plays attacking.
Natural styles: direct plays attacking, direct attacking football, long ball football

Neutral styles: attacking football, defensive football

However, in possession football you may want to use an STC instructed to Hold Up Ball to perform creating chances in central attack, as part of the implementation of defensive football.
Focusing play
Team instructions: Focus Play Down The Left/Right, Focus Play Through The Middle

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

"Focus play directly (to target-man focal role)" 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 styles (however, "focus play directly (to target-man focal role)" effectively implements direct plays attacking to some extent)

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 that you set when choosing your player 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;
  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.

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