Player Instructions

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Hold up ball
This is a good instruction to have to allow players to get into advanced attacking positions. Any player on the pitch can use this instruction and this allows others to join in. One midfielder can hold up the ball and then redistribute it as a player, or a forward can use his strength to keep the ball at his feet to allow deep running midfielders or other players to support him. Its an instruction that requires strength,if you want him to be a playmaker then he needs passing and decisions too.

Determination and bravery are other important attributes.

Swapping positions
When you swap positions, you are telling two players to switch and take on the others role, a striker could swap with an AMC for example, or two strikers could swap sides with each other. In order for this to wokr well you need them to be able to play in both positions, if you want a striker to swap with a midfielder make sure he’s brave enough to throw in a challenge.

Offside trap Offside is an on-field act when the opposing team plays a forward pass to an attacker behind the last defender of a team. The offside trap is an attempt by the defending team to push up their line of defense to catch attackers caught on forward passes played too early. Its a good tactic to have for an attacking team, but it requires good teamwork and a strong leader in the backline.

Cross ball and through ball, who uses it and how

These instructions can be given to anyone, but to be effective they should be assigned to players such as your wingers and fullbacks. If you give it to your central midfield players they will come out of natural positions to cross which isn’t always a good thing.

Through ball option needs to take the type of game you are playing into account. If you are playing a defensive possession game and are not going forward a lot then often through balls will just give possession away and invite trouble.

If you are attacking and trying to get forward all the time then through balls are a good idea.

Note the passing attribute for when assigning through balls too.

Bear in mind the kind of football you want your winger to play too, you can have a dribbler or you can have someone do slick one-twos and go cross, you usually will find it hard to do both as the attributes required are high.

Through balls can be a good instruction for wingers who are slow but possess a good cross, or if your strikers are very pacey.

Avoiding conflicting instructions

Conflicting instructions can confuse your players and unbalance your formation.

Counterattacking - and short passing without TTBs. You are not using the options correctly Its counterproductive

Giving your players a high mentality and then dropping your dline, this is dangerous, its not entirely conflicting but it does make your playing area bigger and make your player conditions drop.

Playing direct passing on slow tempo. Tempo affects how fast or slow a play builds up. Direct passing is naturally fast, so slowing it down is not advisable

Giving a player RWB often and TTB often is a conflict. One is ideal for a hold up man the other for a dribbler. Asking a player to dribble often and then to slow down to make a through ball can sometimes lead to loss of possession. There are few players who can do this effectively.

A conflicting instruction is any instruction that creates oppositon between an attacking action and a defensive action. Give defensive actions to defensive players and offensive instructions to offensive players. If you want to play defensive, then choose options that help you either control the game or play a quick counterattacking game.

Creative players needs to be given room to be effective they shouldn’thave intensive closing down

Be careful when instructing players to do “forward runs” often as this can drag the player out of a vital position defensively or offensively. An especially important fact for link players like DMCs and AMCs

Keep the tactic balanced in that even if all the players can run with the ball that doesn’t mean that they should. They can be intercepted while in possession leading to goal scoring opportunities for the opposition .

Opposition Instructions by Mr Personality

Usually after I give the pre-game teamtalk, I would check on the opposition instruction screen to see if I position my central defenders correctly. If my opponent is using the big-small combination, I shall adjust which of my two DCs to be on which side.

In my situation, both my DCs (I’m using a four man defence) are not the fastest players on the pitch (pace: 9 and 11) but they have decent (ie. is or more than 14) marking & tackling stats. Here is a few scenarios that I have run into in my games:

DC marking a big targetman in a 2 man attack: always close down in hope that he would win most of the battles and contain the targetman from attacking my goal. If his preferred foot is right or left ONLY, then I’d show him onto the left or right respectively. Else, I will just leave it to my defenders on how to mark him.

DC marking a pacey forward in a 2 man attack: never close down and always tight marking. This is what I’m not quite sure of. I’m afraid if I try to close down on him all the time, any mistackle would mean that my DC is going to be left behind by the sheer pace of the FC. With tight marking, I want the DC to nullify the effect of that fast forward without commiting himself too much. The higher the pace of the FC, the lower my closing down on my DC’s individual setting is. Any other suggestions?

DC marking a big targetman in a 1 striker formation: One DC (with the lower pace) will be set to always close down, the other has no specific instructions to pick up what’s left.

DC marking a pacey forward in a 1 striker formation: same as above as I have the numerical advantage and the extra man to cover should the closing down DC fail to clear or contain the man

On AMC: Always close him down to prevent him from linking to his strikers.

Opposition ML/R and AM L/R: Since I want to deprive opposition team of the supply from the wings, these players are given the instruction to always be closed down and shown onto the weaker foot (plus hard tackling depending on the match-up against my players). If the wingers are exceptional, I would tick tight marking on my DL’s and/or DR’s individual settings.

Any injured field players and players below 85% (excluding strikers): Have always put the hard tackling on these players to either make their condition worse or take them to the hospital early

BTW I seldom use both tight marking & closing down on always unless my DCs have way better stats than the opposing strikers.

In the closing stages of any game which the opponents have gone 4-2-4 on me, I usually set ‘always close down’ on all 4 forwards. This is done only after I put 2 DMs in front of my 4-man defence. So far the result has been alright as I have not conceded an 89 or 90th min goal since one game in the beginning of the season. Have not tried anything on the opponent defence or goalies either, thus not sure how anything works on that side of the field.