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, 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 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 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 pressing and containment.
  • 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, along with the tactical instructions that implement them and the playing styles that they tend to be naturally suited to.

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Roaming movement, runs into channels
Disciplined movement
Team instructions: Be More Expressive

Player instructions: Roam From Position, Move Into Channels

Hidden instructions: make more roaming movement laterally (Carrilero)

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

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, 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 RisksNatural styles: defensive football, direct plays, long ball football

Neutral styles: direct attacking football, possession football
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
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
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.
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
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
Creative freedom
Tactical discipline
Team instructions: Be More Expressive

Hidden instructions: use more creative freedom

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 instructions: use more tactical discipline

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 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
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
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 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
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
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 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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