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Adding Team & Player Instructions

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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.
    • In Transition panel
      • Enables you to view and set team instructions for when possession changes from one team to the other, and to view and set goalkeeper distribution team instructions for when your goalkeeper 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, while Dribble Less (lower risk) tends to be naturally suited to defensive football and short plays.

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 and short plays.
  • 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
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 mentality Natural styles: attacking football, direct attacking football, pass and move football, high pressure football, cautious attacking football
Neutral styles: direct plays, short plays, aggressive defending, cautious defending
Team instructions: Cautious team mentality, Defensive team mentality Natural styles: defensive football, long ball football, possession football, aggressive defensive football, parking-the-bus football
Neutral styles: direct plays, short plays, aggressive defending, cautious defending
Attacking Styles (in possession)
Long passes Short passes
Team instructions: increased team passing directness
Player instructions: increased player passing directness
Goalkeeper distribution team instructions: Distribute Over Opposition Defence, Distribute to Target Man (if a target-man focal role is used), Throw It Long and Take Long Kicks
Related style methods:
Clearances and focusing play
“Focus play directly (to target-man focal role)” indirectly increases the passing directness of teammates.
Distribute Over Opposition Defence, Distribute to Target Man, Throw It Long and Take Long Kicks increase the passing directness of the GK.
Natural styles: direct plays, direct attacking football, long ball football
Neutral styles: attacking football, defensive football
Team instructions: decreased team passing directness
Player instructions: decreased player passing directness
Goalkeeper distribution team instructions: Distribute to Playmaker (if a playmaker focal role is used in a deep enough playing position), Distribute to Full Backs, Distribute to Centre Backs, Roll It Out and Take Short Kicks
Related style methods:
Playing out of danger and focusing play
Play Out Of Defence decreases passing directness for D(C/R/L)s, DMCs and WB(R/L)s.
Distribute to Full Backs, Distribute to Centre Backs, Roll It Out and Take Short Kicks decrease passing directness for the GK.
Distribute to Playmaker decreases passing directness for the GK if a playmaker focal role is used in a deep enough playing position for the player to drop deep to receive the ball.
Natural styles: short plays, 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, 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
High tempo play Low tempo play
Team instructions: increased team tempo
Goalkeeper distribution team instructions: Distribute Quickly
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

Goalkeeper distribution team instructions: Slow Pace Down

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
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)
Additional style methods implemented:
Be More Expressive also implements creative freedom.
Natural styles: attacking football, short plays, 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
Additional style methods implemented:
Be More Disciplined also implements tactical discipline.
Natural styles: defensive football, direct plays, 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, 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
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
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 Risks Natural styles: defensive football, direct plays, 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, 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)
Additional style methods implemented:
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
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 add or 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). They also affect your team’s forward movement scores and performance of the penetrating space positional responsibility.
Playing out of danger Clearances
Team instructions: Play Out Of Defence
Goalkeeper distribution team instructions: Distribute to Playmaker (if a playmaker focal role is used in a deep enough playing position), Distribute to Full Backs, Distribute to Centre Backs, Roll It Out and Take Short Kicks
Additional style methods implemented:
Play Out Of Defence decreases passing directness for D(C/R/L)s, DMCs and WB(R/L)s
Distribute to Full Backs and Distribute to Centre Backs also decrease passing directness for the goalkeeper and implement focusing play.
Distribute to Playmaker also implements focusing play, while in addition it decreases passing directness for the GK if a playmaker focal role is used in a deep enough playing position for the player to drop deep to receive the ball.
Roll It Out and Take Short Kicks also decrease passing directness for the goalkeeper.
Natural styles: short plays, pass and move football, possession football
Neutral styles: attacking football, defensive football
Goalkeeper distribution team instructions: Distribute Over Opposition Defence, Distribute to Target Man (if a target-man focal role is used), Throw It Long and Take Long Kicks
Additional style methods implemented:
Distribute Over Opposition Defence and Distribute to Target Man also increase passing directness for the goalkeeper and implement focusing play.
Throw It Long and Take Long Kicks also increase passing directness for the goalkeeper.
Natural styles: direct plays, 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, direct attacking football
Neutral styles: pass and move football, long ball football
Team instructions: Work Ball Into Box
Player instructions: Shoot Less Often
Additional style methods implemented:
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
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)
Additional style methods implemented:
Be More Expressive also implements roaming movement.
Natural styles: attacking football, short plays, 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)
Additional style methods implemented:
Be More Disciplined also implements disciplined movement.
Natural styles: defensive football, direct plays, long ball football
Neutral styles: direct attacking football, possession football
Sporting integrity Wasting time
No instructions Natural 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 Pieces Natural styles: defensive football, long ball football, possession football
Neutral styles: direct plays, short plays
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, 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, 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
Team instructions (situational): Prevent Short GK Distribution – only applies when the opposition GK has possession
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 width Natural styles: attacking football, aggressive defending, high pressure football
Neutral styles: cautious attacking football, aggressive defensive football
Team instructions: decreased team defensive width Natural 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 Trap Natural styles: attacking football, aggressive defending, high pressure football
Neutral styles: cautious attacking football, aggressive defensive football
No instructions Natural 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 Position Neutral styles: all playing styles (used as a match strategy only) No instructions Neutral 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 instructions Natural 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, pass and move football, possession football
Neutral styles: attacking football, defensive football
However, in direct plays, 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, 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, direct attacking football, long ball football
Neutral styles: attacking football, defensive football
However, in short plays, 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, pass and move football, possession football
Neutral styles: attacking football, defensive football
However, in direct plays, 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.
Natural styles: direct plays, 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)”
Goalkeeper distribution team instructions: Distribute Over Opposition Defence, Distribute to Flanks, Distribute to Target Man (if a target-man focal role is used), Distribute to Playmaker (if a playmaker focal role is used), Distribute to Full Backs, Distribute to Centre Backs
Additional style methods implemented:
“Focus play directly (to target-man focal role)” also indirectly increases passing directness for teammates.
Distribute Over Opposition Defence and Distribute to Target Man also increase passing directness and implement clearances for the goalkeeper.
Distribute to Full Backs and Distribute to Centre Backs also decrease passing directness and implement playing out of danger for the goalkeeper.
Distribute to Playmaker also decreases passing directness and implements playing out of danger for the GK if a playmaker focal role is used in a deep enough playing position for the player to drop deep to receive the ball.
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 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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