The Ulitmate FM Walkthough Guide .pdf
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Te Ultimate FM Walkthrough Guide
A Complete Strategy Manual To Master Virtual Football Management.
Written by Wonderkid.
Copyright © FootballManagerGuide.com and the individual authors, 2010.
Te Ultimate FM Walkthrough Guide is an unofcial and unauthorised source for educational purposes only.
It has been composed independently by FootballManagerGuide.com.
It is not endorsed by SEGA or Sports Interactive Games in any shape or form.
Football Manager™ is a registered trademark of SEGA and Sports Interactive Games.
We are not afliated with Football Manager™, SEGA or Sports Interactive Games.
Tis product was created solely to inform/educate players of the game “Football Manager™” how to become a
better player. Te contents of this information infringe no copyright laws.
No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.
Distributed in the English language by FootballManagerGuide.com.
No English language version of this guide is to be made available by any other website without the expressed
permission of the copyright owners. If you have received this guide from any other source than
FootballManagerGuide.com, please notify the authors.
No foreign language versions of this guide are not to be made available by any other website without the
expressed permission of the copyright owners.
Translation requests should be sent to the FootballManagerGuide.com site via
- Chapter One -
An Introduction to “Te Ultimate FM Walkthrough Guide”
Tis one of a kind walkthrough guide has been written and constructed by FM beta testers
with the aim to help anyone from an FM newbie to a hardcore fanboy understand the way the
game functions. In this guide we’ll cover every aspect of FM and will try to examine the
dynamics of the game in a way that will be very easy to interpret.
Te concept behind this walkthrough is to provide a library of advice for anyone who's
looking for a bit of help, some insight or even a new perspective on the game. It isn't solely for
tactics and formational structures, it's an attempt to concoct a full and complete view into FM
and the mechanics of the game – with the aim to create material which will not only pertain
to the current version of the game, but will remain relevant to all future generations of the
game as well. FM doesn’t evolve too much, but when it does, we’ll update the material to
refect the changes (both in e-Book format and via online blogs) – this will allow us to always
provide a complete and up-to-date walkthrough guide to FM.
Te intention with this is to create an in-depth publication which will allow you to cultivate
your knowledge of the game, but at the same explain the material in a relatable way – after all,
there’s no use telling you something that you need to read twelve times in order to understand
it. What we'd like to convey the most is that this guide has been published to help expand,
not only the way people approach the game, but also the mentality when playing the game.
Tis efect of this guide is subjective to how you yourself play the game; you can either take on
board what is said, and adapt it to your own management style – using it as more of a 'hints
and tips' guide, or you can rebuild your entire management mentality and attempt to play the
game from a refreshed perspective. Either way, this guide is only efective if you realise that
this is a game reaching to be as accurate a simulation as possible; it's not an arcade game
anymore; you can no longer be successful under the old 'click, click, click and play a match'
mentality. So, if you want to be good at this game and get the benefts from understanding it,
you need to grasp the real concept of football management – and this is what the e-Book aims
Tis e-Book is not claiming to be a “Cheat’s Guide to FM” nor does it guarantee you’ll win
every match, but it does guarantee to stimulate the way you think about this game and ofer
you ideas and means as to how to go about becoming a better manager. At the very least, it
will give you reasons as to why you have failed to achieve in the past and some ideas on how
to improve or adapt your current methods, in a way which will stop you making those
With regards to reading this guide – everything that is mentioned in this guide, be it tactics or
training, personality tags, team talks or duties, et cetera – has it’s own section. So please be
aware that I will not mention anything in this guide which you cannot fnd information about
inside the guide. Everything in this e-Book has been presented in a way which should make it
easy to read it as a step-by-step walkthrough of the game. Tere will inevitably be similar
topics which aren’t immediately next to each other (because they’re involved in diferent stages
of the game), but you can always open up the menu to the side and use those links to scan the
entire contents of the guide and take you to the section you wish to read.
Future Updates & Additional Reading Material
As has been said, the intention with this e-Book is to provide a universal manual for every
future generation of the game. In a bid to make sure anyone who’s purchased this e-Book no
longer has to spend money on future titles or other e-Books, we will update and cover any
new theories or explanations of the game modules online. Tis gives us the ability to create an
e-Book which will give you a 100% accurate guide as of FM2011 and then a 99% accurate
guide for future generations – with the 1% of information pertaining to new updates or new
features (which could appear in FM2012 and beyond) being covered online:
Via a blog on my preferred fansite – www.footballmanagerfanboys.net
or our own site – www.footballmanagerguide.com
Of course, we will continue to update our e-Books to refect any major changes in the future,
but by ofering you blogs and articles to complement this e-Book, we aim to remove the issue
of you having to spend any more money (unless of course, you wish to have a ‘hard copy’ of
the updated e-Book).
We are also (as you may already be aware), updating the e-Book whenever we can add more to
it. Tere's been a lot of work already done on the book, but I've been updating and rereleasing 'fresher' versions to add more into this year's edition. Obviously, with this being the
frst edition released there are a few things which can be improved, some little formatting
bugs have popped up – but I plan on making it as comprehensive as possible over the course
of the year – so I will be updating and adding more into the guide (with a list of changes, so
you can see what's been added or removed). Once this guide has been perfected, we'll have a
fantastic base for future editions – so bare in mind that this is a project which is very good at
the moment, but I intend to make it far, far better for you in the future.
We’d also like to extend an open ofer to anyone who feels they need more information, to
simply send us an e-mail. With that we’d try to cover any topics in blogs or articles (possibly a
guide update) and then e-mail you to let you know the material is available.
What I’d like to stress is that we’re ofering this as an addition to our e-Book because we want
people to have something with unquestionable value. As a result, further work
(blogs/articles/updates) will take time to research and produce, so please bear in mind that
this is a voluntary service and as such, it is something we will provide when time allows us to
do so. We don’t want to disappoint anyone, so it’s important that you consider that even
though we’re selling this guide, it’s production doesn’t allow us to abandon real-life work
Firstly, I want to thank you for purchasing my work. It's been a labour of love for a long time
now and I hope that you're all very happy with what you have. I don't want to promote this as
a fnal copy; I really want to update and expand upon this book over the course of the year and
I will endeavour to improve what I've published so far – be it visually or informationally.
If anyone has any further expansion ideas, please contact me (details at the end of the e-Book) and let
me know your thoughts.
Secondly, I have tried to make this as interesting and concise as possible, without losing the
information I wanted to convey. I’ve tried to break-up the wall of text with some tables, to
better explain any instructions (obviously, this isn’t possible with huge amounts of text) – but
if you feel the guide can be improved anywhere, have any tips or suggestions for the next eBook - then please let me know. I have added crib sheets to the book (you can fnd them in
the relevant folder) – this is to give you the easiest possible access to the information I assume
you'll want the most. I've also added a crib sheet icon to the guide – so, when you see that, it
will indicate that there is a crib sheet available for the area of the guide you're reading.
Lastly and most importantly, I hope you enjoy reading this guide. I hope it can provide you
with answers to the questions which you may have. I have gone into as much depth as I
possibly could and I’d like to think that every element of the game is covered in detail, but I
know you may not feel that is the case – so, if there is anything which you think has been
missed out, overlooked or not covered in enough detail – let me know and I will try to
improve on that area.
I will be reviewing the guide for next year (I am already thinking about other ways to format the eBook for the next edition), so any additional feedback, commentary or critique – it all helps. Te aim
of this guide is to produce something which can become the complete package for all FM users and
with your feedback and guidance, we can improve it beyond what I’ve started here. I'd not like to
think of this e-Book a basic guide, I actually believe it's got some great depth, but I also know that I
can add more to what's here – which is what I will be trying to do as you're reading this!
- Chapter Two -
Te Philosophy of Football Management
Tis game is a simulation of a sporting reality. In order to defne yourself as one of the great
virtual managers, you have to understand how the game functions in reality. Now, a lot of
people will pick up the game with arrogance, because of course, they already know how the
game works and they don’t need to learn anything from anyone else; but even the very best
managers are learning all the time. So, from here on in, we’ll take a look at the composition of
real football and the way it's played, in order to highlight some things you might not have
considered about football management.
In football there are some people who stand out from the crowd – no, not the overweight
hooligans with shirts that barely cover their guts (although Wayne Rooney is pretty impressive at
times) – it’s those managers who stand on the sidelines, orchestrating their pawns. Now, most
people will look at football as nothing more than an athletic competition, they will watch the
game and focus on the passion and desire to win. However, if you look beyond the passion
and the hunger of the players, you will see that there is a greater dynamic at work. It is
understanding this dynamic which opens the door to the kingdom of managerial heaven.
It’s Chess Not Checkers
If you look beyond the game as a spectator and look at it as a puzzle, you'll have a much better
interpretation of the sport. As fans we're taught that this game is about passion, hunger and
drive; it's about fghting for glory and never giving up – and I'm not saying that isn't true, but
that description of the game doesn't pertain to anything other than the required mentality of
those playing the sport. In order to garner the success of those few managers who have gone
to the top (and stayed there), you need to understand the true fundamental value of success in
Firstly, you have to recognise that this game is multidimensional, it's not just about the
passion and talent. Almost every footballer is passionate about the game – and certainly, more
often than not, the players all have enough talent to play in the roles they've been assigned to.
Talent and passion are small advantages (based on the fact that everyone has both to some degree,
but some people may have slightly more than others). What actually wins you games isn't just the
prowess of the striker, it isn't just the raw emotion of the holding midfelder – it's the intellect
of the manager; how he plays those players and how he prepares those players.
You’ll have seen it yourself in both the game and in reality – an underdog chopping down a
giant. It’s not statistically possible that a player with a ‘20’ for both Finishing and Composure
will have less success in front of goal than a player with a ‘15’ for both Finishing and
Composure, but just like in the game, it happens in the real world too. How is it possible that
talent and skill hasn’t prevailed, when statistically everything points to that outcome?
Te truth is, football is much like chess. Te player controls the pieces, decides where they go
and when they make their moves; any success is due to the mental aptitude of the player
reading his opponent and using what he has on the board to defeat them. In football, it’s
practically the same, but with living game pieces. Te manager has dictatorship over
everything at the club – he chooses the men who will play in his team, the style of play the
team will execute, who plays each match; he tells them where they play, how they should play
and what they should do; he is the single catalyst which ties every element at the club
Once you understand that, it's easy to grasp that football matches are won and lost of the
pitch. You can lose a game before you've even touched the football, and like I said above, the
game is multidimensional, it's not all about the players on the feld; it comes down to how you
utilise those players, how they are mentally prepared before the game, how those players are
positioned and instructed, how you read the opposition and how you deal with their threats.
Everything in football is won and lost because of one man's decision making and his thought
With that said, let’s take a glance at football in reality and then we’ll begin to go through the
mechanics of the game...
A Dose of Reality
Now, I can understand that the perspective of the manager being the real football hero may be
somewhat disagreed with, so I will illustrate my point with an example based around reality.
What we are about to look at is a very talented team which was completely undermined by
their manager's inability to defne a tactical approach, utilise the resources he had at his
disposal and his failure to adapt the team's tactical approach when facing a more astute
opponent. By highlighting this, I hope to show you that even those with everything at their
fngertips can fail dismally with the wrong approach.
We’ll go back to the 2010 World Cup; England and Fabio Capello go into the tournament
with one of the best collections of players to touchdown in South Africa. Tey have one of the
world's strongest midfeld duos in Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, they have one of the
world's most talented and in-form strikers in Wayne Rooney, and a defence which featured
the very capable John Terry, an in-from Glen Johnson and arguably the world's most revered
left-back in Ashley Cole. Tis is a team with a world-class spine and plenty of talent around
it; most of the players are in excellent form, the core of the team are champions at the highest
European level and yet they perform in such an abysmal manner. How is it possible that this
team couldn’t beat the likes of Algeria?
Quite simply, Fabio Capello got it horribly wrong. Not only did his 23 man squad feature
surprising inclusions and omissions, but he was also tactically inept for the entire tournament.
Firstly, I want us to examine the team he called up and then we’ll go into the dynamics of his
tactics and the reasons why his methods managed to lose England matches before they even
hit the turf...
Players Called Up
Joe Hart, David James and Robert Green (allegedly the frst choice
goalkeeper – although, only Fabio Capello knew if that was the case).
Jamie Carragher, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Ledley
King, John Terry, Matthew Upson and Stephen Warnock.
Gareth Barry, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Steven Gerrard, Frank
Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner and Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Peter Crouch, Jermaine Defoe, Emile Heskey and Wayne Rooney.
If you look at the team it's got plenty of talent, but Fabio Capello has taken big gambles on
certain players. Firstly, why call up a huge ftness risk in Ledley King or the ageing and outof-form Jamie Carragher, when he had options with Phil Jagielka, Wes Brown and Joleon
Lescott? Obviously, Fabio Capello wasn't to know that Rio Ferdinand would get injured, but
when you pick a squad you have to assume it's a possibility. Fabio Capello didn't even select
adequate cover for the right-back position; he could easily have called up Wes Brown or
Micah Richards (who was a revelation at right-back for England not so long ago) – both of
whom can efectively play either as a right-back or centre-back, and both of whom were part
of more successful teams in the Barclays Premier League that season.
Ten there are the likes of Michael Carrick, Gareth Barry and Joe Cole, who'd been out
injured for a while or not played a lot of football. Carrick was out of favour at Old Traford
and had been playing second fddle to the likes of Darren Fletcher; Gareth Barry went into
the tournament carrying an injury and Joe Cole was out of form. As a result, England were
completely lacking in the midfeld throughout the whole tournament. Now, there's no doubt
that Joe Cole is the kind of player you’d take a risk on and Gareth Barry had added a solid
core to the England team since Owen Hargreaves got injured, but this decision making left
the midfeld massively unbalanced, with Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard playing together
and no holding midfeld player able to cover the gaps they left in-between the defence and
midfeld. Eventually, when Gareth Barry came into the team to plug the gaps, he was
exhausted and far too unft to do the job asked of him – as a result, he was hugely
disappointing throughout the tournament.
Lastly you've got four forwards, all of whom are all completely diferent to each other. Now,
variety is good, but it's pointless without the right system. Emile Heskey was called up and
was frst choice – even though he lacked pace and composure in front of goal. Full credit to
Emile Heskey for his work ethic, but the guy had no real place being in the team (his form
was poor going into the World Cup and he rarely played for Aston Villa during the season) –
his inclusion can only be down to his physical build – which proved to be a fundamental error,
because England lacked potency not strength up front and Emile Heskey ofered nothing in
Taking all of that into consideration and not even addressing the omission of a left winger (in
the form of Ashley Young or Adam Johnson), Fabio Capello had made at least fve selection
faux pas prior to the tournament. Tat was something that dramatically hindered his ability to
select a solid or versatile team when he was in South Africa – and that was a huge part of the
team's poor performance on the pitch.
If you then take a look at Fabio Capello's tactical plan, you can quite clearly see that he's
taking even bigger risks in playing players out of position. Tere is no guarantee that a worldclass central midfelder will be good, decent or even efective as a winger – and this is the
thing you need to recognise – the chain of events that occurred from Fabio Capello's frst
decision to play Steven Gerrard on the left wing, so Gareth Barry could play as anchor man.
Deploying Steven Gerrard out of position on the left wing nulled the team's threat on the
fank. Instead of choosing to have a left footed winger (or even a right footed winger, who
would at least run at the opposition's left back – and thus allow his own left back, in this case,
Ashley Cole – to cross the ball), Fabio Capello chose to play Steven Gerrard on the wing.
Steven Gerrard then (naturally) would constantly drift inside to the centre and end up out of
position. When this happened a huge gap emerged on the left wing that Ashley Cole had to
cover. Tat resulted in not only clogging up an already busy midfeld, but it lead to a massive
lack of service for a highly dependent and subsequently inefective Wayne Rooney – who was
completely isolated and responded by dropping deep to fnd the ball.
It’s these events that then caused two players to be out of position, as Wayne Rooney – who was the
focal point of England's attack – was dropping out of position and ended up taking all pressure of
the opposing defence (because without Wayne Rooney high up the feld, the opponents could push up
and create even less space in the middle of the pitch for England to move into).
Now, England have no left winger, have no forward and are facing an opposition defence
which is compacting the space in the middle of the pitch – an area of the pitch where
England have four players (Wayne Rooney, Steven Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry)
occupying the space. Is it any wonder that Wayne Rooney didn’t score at the World Cup, why
teams like Algeria were able to cause England so many problems or why England had an uphill struggle to get near the penalty box of teams who weren't anywhere near as good as them?
What I'm trying to convey is this – Fabio Capello's decision making cost the team a good run
in the tournament. I've only identifed one of his tactical mistakes, but I have highlighted the
impact of the decision to play Steven Gerrard out of position. If you want more examples of
Fabio Capello's ineptitude, you can look at the decision to play a tired midfelder (who was
only just recovering from an injury) and not only that, but play him in one of the most
important roles in the team (Gareth Barry, as the anchor man). Alternatively, you can look at
the fact that Fabio Capello refused to adapt his tactics based on the way the game was being
played out. He was completely ignorant to the other team's tactics; instead deciding that his
own tactics and team were superior enough to thwart the ‘low quality’ of the opposition.
By explaining the faws in England's game plan I hope what you can ascertain is that these
decisions undermined a team featuring a number of the world's foremost players – and that is
the measure of the efect that a manager can have on a game. On the other side you can
example the likes of Valencia under the guidance of Rafael Benitez (or his frst season at
Liverpool, where he won the Champions League, with a very average Liverpool side). You can
also look to Carlo Ancelotti's impact with the ageing AC Milan or his impact with a failing
Chelsea team – which had previously failed to reproduce the magic it had under the tutelage
of José Mourinho. Speaking of Mourinho, look at his achievements with FC Porto, Chelsea
and Inter Milan – he's achieved three titles in separate leagues and Champions League
victories with two of those clubs.
As I've said previously – managers win games – and if you can understand that, you can start
to look at how you can have an impact on the game. It’s not about downloading a tactic from
another manager and grabbing yourself a lazy-man’s training scheme, it’s about taking some
time to impact your own game – and the rewards for doing that far outweigh the time it takes
to express a little efort.
- Chapter Tree -
Approaching “Te Job”
When you frst take over a new team it's often very overwhelming, unless you know the team
inside out already. Tere's always a lot to get done and you nearly always forget something, so
it's best to start looking at the new job as a step-by-step encounter. Take a step back from the
workload and break things down into a few quick to-dos. It’s very important to take a few
moments to get these things done, because believe it or not, things as basic as setting up
training or scouting can afect how successful your reign as manager will be – after all, that's
the job you're doing – leading, directing and training the players to work in the way you
believe will reap rewards for the club.
Here are a few tips and a brief walkthrough of my own 'new club' routine…
I personally like to spend my frst moments looking at the team, assessing players, seeing who
the best players are and how they would ft into a tactic. I like to spend thirty or forty
minutes, simply trying players out in diferent roles and duties, getting a formation created
and trying to fnd balance with the players I have at my disposal. From there I make a call as
to who I can and cannot use in my team, then begin to move them out of the club and scout
for replacements. I also use this time to setup set-pieces and get a basic framework in place for
dead-ball situations – often this needs adjusting later on, but it's good to get the foundations
in place whilst you're already working on your tactical approach.
If I'm taking over a club who have just sacked a manager, I think it's important to look at how the
team played before I arrived, view their prior results and the way their formation was set out. I use
that as an indication as to not only why they failed, but as a way I can avoid the same pitfalls.
My next step is to get the staf to work – sending the scouts out on tour and getting the
coaches working on training schedules; making sure my staf team is of a high standard and
making sure my training is at a high level. Tese are vital tasks because they hold an infuence
over the quality of your team. If you fail to setup the training, then you’re likely to encounter
injuries, players being trained in general areas (which means they'll improve attributes which
can be useless to them) and even worse, you'll experience players dipping in attributes – which
is the last thing you want to happen as a coach. If you don’t setup the scouting, you’re not
going to gain scouting knowledge – which means you’re going to be solely reliant on your own
player knowledge – and when you’re scouting for new players and you’re not being shown all
the talent that’s on ofer, it's going to be a huge problem. Tese are two tasks which seem
complex and tedious, but they don't take long to setup and if you take the time to get it right
immediately, you'll not have to constantly adjust them later on.
Once the basic tactic, training and scouting tasks are done and you’ve gotten accustomed to
the team, it’s always a good idea to fnish of tweaking the dynamic settings at the club. I like
to go and make sure I have options with feeder clubs and parent clubs – they’re good
resources, as they can aid scouting knowledge, give you an option for shifting a player who you
want to keep (but won't be playing); you can also get good loan deals from parent clubs
(which is always advisable prior to signing any players, as you might save some money by bringing
in a loanee) and you have a number of scouting and recruitment benefts such as, getting
around work permits, getting your youngsters experience and also getting coveted youngsters
from linked clubs into your team; there's a lot of options and benefts to working closely with
other clubs. Not only can you create ties with diferent clubs, but you can also setup a Youth
Recruitment Network, which will really give you an edge when it comes to procuring fresh
young talent – it takes a bit of time to get setup, but you only have to click one button and the
rest is done for you.
By this point, I'm usually ready to start playing matches and so I begin to work on the Match
Preparation module. I fnd it best to have one formation and work with the “Team Blend”
Special Focus Area, as it has the most beneft for learning. Once I've setup Match
Preparation, I'll make sure the workload is nicely balanced with the scheduled training
workload (see the “Understanding the Fundamentals of Training” section of the guide for complete
details) and then I'll be ready to jump into the fxtures.
Te most important thing to convey about this procedure is that it's all about how much efort you are
willing to put into playing the game. Setting up at a new club takes around an hour to do; if you
can't be bothered to spend the time doing that and would prefer to play the fxtures – that's perfectly
okay, but don't expect the good results to come your way. As has been said, this isn't an arcade game;
you are actually expected to manage the club, the team and the players – which unfortunately requires
some efort on your part.
- Chapter Four -
Understanding the Genetics of a Footballer
Understanding players is actually very simple, but a lot of people take the wrong approach to
scouting and player assessment, which is a critical mistake because the players are the key to
you winning anything as a manager. Once you understand how players work inside the match
engine, you'll master this game, because once you know how to read a player, you'll make the
best tactics, you'll make the best judgement calls at half-time and you'll be laughing at how
easy it was to do. Very simply, players in the game are created based on the following key
Technical, Physical and Mental attributes.
Hidden personality attributes.
Current Ability/Potential Ability attributes.
Preferred Player Moves.
Structure (age, height, weight, et cetera).
It’s the way in which these key components mesh together and function with each other that
defnes not only the player you have, but the type of player you can mould in the future. Let’s
break the core of the footballer open and take a look at what makes them tick…
Current Ability & Potential Ability
Firstly, we need to quickly look at CA/PA, as it’s this which controls the value of every visable
attribute a player has (and the ability they could have in the future). It’s a very easy concept to
grasp, so here it is in a bit more detail…
Current Ability is the measure of a player’s Technical, Mental and Physical attributes in the
current moment, whilst Potential Ability marks the level at which a player can reach in those
areas, as the player grows. Now, CA/PA is hidden from the attributes screen and the only way
to get a good measure of it is to obtain scout reports on players (which is why it's important to
get exceptional scouts). Tis information is useful, not only when scouting for fresh talent or
deciding if a player has a future at your club, but it's also useful when training players, as it can
give you a good indication of when a player has hit his peak and won’t improve anymore –
thus making him potentially useless to you in the near future.
Understanding the CA/PA Attributes
Current Ability and Potential Ability are both rated out of 200 (with 200 being the highest
possible rating a player can have). Some youngsters are rated with negative PA attributes
which range from -1 to -10 (-10 being the highest possible rating). Tese negative ratings
assign a range which the player’s future PA will ft into. As a result, these players are not
statically defned with a number between 1 and 200 – this makes these players much more
promising prospects – as they have a wider span for growth.
Here’s a quick look at how the ratings measure up…
Negative Potential Ability
Expected Future PA (min)
Expected Future PA (max)
As you can see from the above table, not all negative PA is good. An excellent player ebbs
above the 170 CA mark and good players ebb around the 140 CA mark, so the future ingame “Wonderkids” would have a negative PA of either -9 or -10 (or a fxed PA around 170200). Tey won’t always have big CA attributes, but that’s why they’re touted as future stars,
because these players are all about potential, even if they're not displaying talent currently.
Please note: CA/PA can also be attributed as '0', which would make the player’s CA/PA completely
It’s important to understand that PA is not always a defnitive indicator of a good player. All
these players need to fulfl their potential via training, tutoring and match experience. Players
need good, benefcial training schedules, they need match practice and they need nurturing. If
you fail to deliver a good standard of coaching to players with great PA, they'll not reach their
potential and will ultimately be disappointing.
Please note: CA can also decline as well as rise. Once players have hit their peak, you'll start
seeing a gradual decline in some of their Techincal and Physical attributes – although their
Mental attributes do often rise as a result of their expereince. Also note: CA will decline if
players are poorly trained, are being left out of the team for long periods of time, or with
players getting serious injuries (thus getting no match practice). Whilst ageing players cannot
recover their lost attributes, you can improve players who've lost their 'edge' because of
injuries or a lack of practice, but be aware that, as time passes, players won’t improve beyond
Understanding and Interpreting Player Attributes
From a numbers perspective, each attribute is rated out of 20. Tese attributes calculate into
percentages, so for example: if we remove all of the Mental and Physical attributes from the
equation, someone with a ‘10’ for Heading has a 50% chance of getting the header right.
However, when we factor the Physical attributes into the equation, that chance will increase
with someone who has excellent Jumping.
Something very important to consider is that no player is perfect. A player with ‘20’ for everything
will not be fawless – there are mistakes and errors in every player’s game. Te key point is this – the
higher the attributes, the will lower the amount of mistakes that will be made.
Attributes can be quite deceiving and understanding them comes down to three important
1. Understanding each of the Physical, Mental and Technical attributes.
2. Understanding how attributes relate to each other.
3. Understanding the less obvious elements which function alongside those attributes.
Don’t worry if that sounds overly complex, it’s very, very easy to understand. Basically, the way
it works is like this: Physical attributes dictate the players mould (i.e. whether the player is a
strong player, a quick player or an agile player), Technical attributes dictate how well a player
will do something (i.e. tackling, heading, marking) and Mental attributes dictate both the
efectiveness of the other attributes (i.e. poor Composure would lower the efectiveness of a
striker's Finishing) and they also control elements of the player's mentality.
Let's take a look at point one – understanding each of the attributes, then we'll look at how they relate
to each other and then fnally, we'll look at the less obvious elements which function with attributes.
Defning and Understanding Attributes
Te attributes in the game are labelled very obviously, but sometimes the interpretation is a
little difcult to grasp; sometimes there are even elements which go unconsidered in certain
attributes; so here we’ll take a look at all the attributes associated with the players, we'll defne
how they function and we'll look at the way they theoretically infuence each other.
Description and Efect
Tis attribute indicates how well a player will execute a corner kick. It’s
obviously important to get the best players taking set-pieces, because it
can lead to a goal.
Infuencing attributes: Composure, Technique, Decisions, Crossing.
Tis attribute indicates how well a player can cross the ball into the
Infuencing attributes: Composure, Decisions, Technique.
Tis attribute indicates how controlled a player will be with the ball,
when he runs with the ball at his feet.
Infuencing attributes: Balance, Agility, Acceleration, Pace.
Tis attribute indicates how accurately a player will get a shot on target
or how well placed that shot will be.
Infuencing attributes: Decisions, Composure, Technique.
Tis attribute indicates the rate of speed in which a player can control
the ball and how closely a player can control the ball, when he receives
Infuencing attributes: Composure.
Tis attribute indicates the level of the player’s ability to take a freekick, be it a shot or an assist.
Infuencing attributes: Technique, Passing, Long Shots, Finishing, Decisions
Tis attribute indicates how clinical a player will be with the ball in the
Infuencing attributes: Jumping, Strength.
Tis attribute indicates how dangerous a player can be shooting from
Infuencing attributes: Finishing, Decisions, Technique.
Tis attribute indicates how efcient a player will be when executing
Infuencing attributes: Strength, Decisions.
Tis attribute indicates how well players can cover and null the threat
of their opponents.
Infuencing attributes: Strength, Composure, Concentration, Of Te Ball,
Tis attribute indicates how skilled a player will be at passing the ball.
Infuencing attributes: Technique, Creativity, Flair, Composure, Decisions.
Tis attribute indicates how efcient a player will be when taking this
Infuencing attributes: Decisions, Composure, Finishing.
Tis attribute indicates how skilled a player will be at dispossessing an
opponent of the ball, without giving away a foul.
Infuencing attributes: Aggression, Decisions, Composure.
Tis attribute indicates how refned a player will be in possession and
how adept a player will be at playing difcult passes, making tough
crosses or playing long balls.
Infuencing attributes: Decisions, Composure.
Description and Efect
Tis attribute indicates how aggressively a player will tackle an
opponent and how frequently he will get involved in match events. Tis
does not indicate how physically aggressive a player may be.
Infuencing attributes: – none.
Tis attribute indicates how quickly a player can predict an event and
react to a situation in the match (i.e. an interception, getting on the end
of a through-ball, et cetera).
Infuencing attributes: Of Te Ball, Positioning.
Tis attribute indicates how fearless a player will be during tackles,
headers or blocks in the match.
Infuencing attributes: Decisions, Aggression.
Tis attribute indicates how calm and collected a player will be in
pressurised situations or when he’s in possession of the ball.
Infuencing attributes: – none.
Tis attribute indicates how long a player can stay focussed in a match.
If this attribute is low it will lower the efectiveness of the player later
in the match and will increase the chances of him making errors.
Infuencing attributes: – none.
Tis attribute indicates how gifted a player is at seeing an opportunity a
less creative player would not see. It doesn't stipulate how efective a
player is at exploiting the vision he has.
Infuencing attributes: Technique, Flair, Passing, Crossing, Finishing.
Tis attribute indicates how astute a player is at reading a situation and
then making the correct decision.
Infuencing attributes: – none.
Tis attribute indicates how driven and motivated a player will be to
win on the pitch.
Infuencing attributes: Work Rate, Aggression, Bravery.
Tis attribute indicates how skilled a player is at concocting creative
and unpredictable manoeuvres to make opportunities out of nothing.
Infuencing attributes: Technique, Creativity, Passing, Crossing, Finishing,
Tis attribute indicates how inspiring and motivating a player can be to
his team-mates and how much impact he has on match events.
Infuencing attributes: – none.
Of Te Ball
Tis attribute indicates how clever a player is at reading the game and
then fnding space which allows him to receive the ball and exploit a
gap in the opposition's formation.
Infuencing attributes: Anticipation, Decisions.
Tis attribute indicates how good a player is at reading a defensive
situation and moving into the best position to deal with that situation.
Infuencing attributes: Anticipation, Decisions.
Tis attribute indicates how good a player is at working as part of a
team and how good a player is at following instruction.
Infuencing attributes: – none.
Tis attribute indicates how willing a player is to work and how much
efort he displays whilst playing.
Infuencing attributes: Stamina, Determination.
Description and Efect
Tis attribute indicates the rate of speed in which a player can instantly
move from a standing position and reach his top speed (Pace).
Infuencing attributes: – Agility, Balance.
Tis attribute indicates how much fexibility and range of movement a
player has when moving, both with and without the ball.
Infuencing attributes: Balance, Pace, Acceleration.
Tis attribute indicates how well a player can move and stay on his
feet, how mobile he is in possession and how stable he remains when
facing opponents or moving quickly in various directions.
Infuencing attributes: Agility.
Tis attribute indicates the distance in which a player can rise of the
ground when leaping. A player's height, does not give the Jumping
attribute a boost.
Infuencing attributes: Agility, Balance.
Tis attribute indicates a player's starting level of ftness, how much
endurance a player will have over the course of a season and it can give
some indication as to how susceptible a player may be to fatigue and
injury when over-trained or over-played.
Infuencing attributes: Work Rate, Stamina.
Tis attribute indicates the top speed a player will peak at when
Infuencing attributes: Stamina, Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Dribbling.
Tis attribute indicates how much endurance a player has in the match
and how long the player can perform at his peak level throughout the
game before tiring and becoming inefective.
Infuencing attributes: Work Rate, Determination, Aggression, Natural
Tis attribute indicates how adept a player is at holding of an
opponent or ‘out-muscling’ them in physical battles.
Infuencing attributes: - none.
Description and Efect
Tis attribute indicates how profcient a goalkeeper is at punching and
catching the ball when it’s in the air.
Infuencing attributes: Handling, Jumping, Agility.
Tis attribute indicates how often the goalkeeper will instruct the
players in front of him and how often he will attempt to claim any
crosses or passes in the box.
Infuencing attributes: Aerial Ability, Handling, Communication, Jumping,
Decisions, Anticipation, Positioning, Agility, Refexes.
Tis attribute indicates how well a goalkeeper directs those around his
box and how well he organises his defence.
Infuencing attributes: Command Of Area.
Tis attribute indicates how outlandish the goalkeeper is. With a high
Eccentricity attribute, the goalkeeper will act more like an outfeld
player and operate with a disregard for his duties (dwelling on the ball,
dribbling out the box, rushing out to make challenges, et cetera).
Infuencing attributes: – none.
Tis attribute indicates how good a goalkeeper is when in possession of
the ball, how good the keeper is at catching the ball or holding onto it
after a shot, and how frequently he spills the ball for rebounds.
Infuencing attributes: – none.
Tis attribute indicates the distance a goalkeeper can propel the ball
with a kick.
Infuencing attributes: Technique, Passing, Decisions.
One On Ones
Tis attribute indicates how profcient a goalkeeper is at stopping an
opponent clean though on goal and how confdent they will be in
stopping the opponent scoring a goal.
Infuencing attributes: Acceleration, Agility, Rushing Out, Balance,
Refexes, Anticipation, Decisions, Pace.
Tis attribute indicates how agile, fexible and reactive a goalkeeper is
when making diving saves. Te higher the attribute, the more likely it is
that the goalkeeper will save faster and more difcult shots on goal.
Infuencing attributes: Agility, Balance, Anticipation.
Tis attribute indicates how well a goalkeeper will come of the goalline and claim the ball.
Infuencing attributes: Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Refexes, Anticipation,
Tis attribute indicates how frequently a goalkeeper will punch the ball,
instead of catching it – even when he can easily catch the ball.
Infuencing attributes: – none.
Tis attribute indicates how accurately the goalkeeper will be able to
distribute the ball via a throw.
Infuencing attributes: Strength, Decisions.
Te Attribute Formula
Te genetic makeup of the player looks like this: Technical attributes + Mental attributes +
Physical attributes + Preferred Player Moves + personality attributes = the current ability of
When you’re in a match it’s a similar equation, but you add another formula to the initial
formula: (Technical attributes + Mental attributes + Physical attributes + Preferred Player
Moves + personality attributes) + position + role + duty + position comfort + preferred foot +
morale + match motivation = efectiveness of player's abilities in the match engine.
As you can see, there are a lot of variables to attributes, but you’ll learn as you read through
the guide, that it’s not as hard as it seems to be. If you can learn the meanings of the
attributes, learn which attributes work together and understand how to read a player's
personality, then you'll fnd this game incredibly easy.
So, you know what makes a player function, you understand the genetics of a player and you
can see that a player is far more complex than a few obvious attributes. Now, you need to
grasp how these attributes are linked and how you can logically tie them together yourself.
Take for example: Trowing; this can be infuenced by Decisions because a player such as a
goalkeeper has multiple options when distributing the ball and his Decisions attribute would
question which player or direction his throw should aim towards. It's going to be a factor
when it comes to a player throwing the ball because you want the goalkeeper to distribute the
ball to the player in the best possible position to keep the ball or counter-attack. Tis is what I
refer to as Attribute Logic – the understanding that one attribute is preceded and infuenced
by another attribute in the match engine.
Te match engine executes the player's attributes in sequences. It's basically, one big chain of
events which calculate the Mental, Technical and Physical attributes. It is these reoccurring
sequences in the match engine which decide how successful a player will be in diferent
aspects of the game.
To make it very simple, this is how it works for a striker who is getting ready to shoot...
Te match engine calculates the attributes in this order: Composure > Decisions > Technique
Te player's Composure attribute is calculated to see how calm he is in the situation.
Te player's Decision attribute is calculated to see where he should put the ball.
Te player's Technique attribute is calculated to see how the player executes the shot.
Te player's Finishing attribute is calculated to see how accurately he'd take the shot.
Tat's the very basic sequence before a player takes a shot. Tis should highlight the
importance of the other attributes to a striker – because as you can see, if the Composure is
low, he'll lower the chances of making the right decision. If the Decision is low, he might aim
at the wrong spot or take the shot too early. If the Technique is low, he might not be able to
execute the correct fnish (a chip shot – for example). Now, if the Finishing is low, he might
hit the ball right at the keeper, but if the attributes which precede Finishing are poor, he
might not even get the chance to execute the Finishing attribute at all.
So, how do we –
(a) fnd a quality player based on the match engine sequencing formula?
(b) calculate all the attributes in each sequence?
Well, to use this formula for scouting and recognising quality players, you need to reverseengineer the attributes of (in this case) the striker.
Te frst obvious attribute of a striker is Finishing - however, we now know that Finishing is
the last attribute to be executed in the chain of events. Before Finishing is executed, you'd
have Technique, Decisions and Composure. However, before all of those attributes are
executed you have other attributes come into play frst.
It can be very useful to be able to calculate a logic chain of attribute execution, as you'd have a much
better understanding of the attributes which your players will need in their positions – this can make
all the diference when it comes to role and duty assignment, scouting and training.
To work out the match engine sequence, you have to make a logic chain to calculate which
attribute would precede the attributes you know are important to the striker. If you've read the
descriptions of the attributes above, you'll know that, First Touch, Of Te Ball, Work Rate,
Stamina, Acceleration and Pace will all have a role to play because the striker will be moving
around and looking for the ball (or running with the ball) before he gets into a shooting
position. So, what you do is get an idea of which attributes will be involved in the sequence
and then rearrange them to make the sequence (and thus understand which are the most
important attributes for that player)...
Te above attribute chain would be: (Finishing + Composure + Technique + Decisions) + First
Touch + Of Te Ball + Work Rate + Stamina + Acceleration + Pace.
If you breakdown and rearrange those attributes, you can make a chain of logic and you’d have
the ability to see how goalscoring would work in the match engine.
So, initially the player is looking for the ball to be passed to him...
1. Of Te Ball dictates where he moves and where he will be positioned when the ball
comes to him.
2. Work Rate decides how hard he will endeavour to get to the ball.
3. Acceleration and Pace dictate how quickly he can get to the ball.
4. Stamina will dictate if he has enough energy to get to the ball as quickly as the
Acceleration and Pace attributes will allow him to.
5. First Touch decides how well he will control the ball when he gets to it.
Tis is that sequence of events: Of Te Ball > Work Rate > Acceleration > Pace > Stamina >
Say at this point, the player has the ball. Next you'd need to calculate the attributes which
would decide how he used the ball, after collecting and controlling it.
Tis would see you add Composure and Decisions to the sequence.
Of Te Ball > Work Rate > Acceleration > Pace > Stamina > First Touch > Composure >
In this situation, Composure and Decisions will be triggered as the match engine will want to
know how calm the player is when he has the ball and what he will do with the ball next.
After the match engine has calculated the Decisions attribute, it will want to know if the
player has the ability to run with the ball, pass the ball, play a complex pass with the ball, et
cetera... Obviously, the amount of possible calculations are far too big to cover here – not that
you could predict what a player would or would not do with the ball after receiving it anyway,
there are too many variables. Still, it's irrelevant; at this stage you already know the beginning
and ending of the sequence, which is all you'll need to ascertain which attributes are vital.
So, let's presume the player has been passed the ball and controlled it when he's in the box;
that would mean he's got the opportunity to shoot. Now, we've already worked out the
shooting sequence, so we'll attach that to the build-up sequence and fll in any gaps so that it
Shooting sequence: Composure > Decisions > Technique > Finishing.
Build-up sequence: Of Te Ball > Work Rate > Acceleration > Pace > Stamina > First Touch >
Composure > Decisions.
As you can see, the sequences slot together nicely...
Of Te Ball > Work Rate > Acceleration > Pace > Stamina > First Touch > Composure >
Decisions > Technique > Finishing.
Now, some important points to note –
1. You only really need to know the last four or fve attributes in each sequence for every
position. Tere is no way that you're going to be able to calculate all the possible
outcomes, because you don't know what's going to happen in the match and you're not
going to be calculating just attributes, you'd have Preferred Player Moves to take into
consideration, as well as morale, the difculty of the opponent, et cetera. Work out the
latter attributes and look for them in players, this will give you a far greater chance of
(a) fnding the best possible players (b) creating a team which is far more clinical.
2. Tis is my own Attribute Logic. I may not have added attributes into equations that
you would; I may be adding attributes which I think are important and you do not. Te
beauty of this is that it's your own logic. I'm just showing you how it works. You have
all the attribute descriptions to help you understand the way attributes function, you
also have a solid example of how the match engine sequencing works and you know
you only need to calculate the last 4-5 attributes in the sequence to fnd the best
players for each position – with all of that information, it will be very easy for you to
reverse-engineer the sequences and put your plans for world domination into efect.
3. If you read the “Combining Duties and Roles” crib sheet or the attribute list above,
you'll see that there are a lot of attribute links for each position – use those as a base,
but still use your own Attribute Logic so you can factor your own theories against
those suggestions. Also, pay attention to the in-game attribute hints because using those
alongside Attribute Logic, makes this concept easy to implement into your game.
4. Tis is covered in more detail later, but remember to factor in how Preferred Player
Moves will afect players. Tose PPM's can easily change the impact of a player's
attributes in a match (imagine a left-footed winger, on the left wing, who has excellent
crossing, yet has PPM's which dictate he cuts inside and shoots on his right foot).
Player personalities are often completely overlooked, with managers instead preferring to
focus on a player's numerical attributes, believing they're the only basis for deciding how
suitable a player is for their team. However, there are a couple of reasons as to why it’s not
advisable to ignore personalities. Firstly, a personality tag gives you an indication of the
player’s hidden personality attributes. Secondly, it’s these hidden personality attributes which
can be a decisive factor on the true value of a player’s visible attributes. Tirdly, they’re
important factors for tutoring. Below I’ll cover the personality attributes and personality tags
to give an indication as to what they mean and how they can afect a player.
Hidden Personality Attributes
Description and Efect
Tis is the measure of a player’s ability to adapt to playing in a new
country or their ability to learn and maintain a new position. It can
afect the speed and ease of them settling into a new role.
Tis is the measure of a player’s craving for success. It can afect his
desire to remain at a club, which he doesn’t feel matches his ambitions.
Tis is the measure of a player’s ability to perform well over the course
of a series of games. You will usually see how consistent a player is via
his form rating (if it's erratic, then his Consistency is low).
Tis is the measure of how outspoken a player will be with the media.
Tis is the measure of a player’s willingness to do whatever it takes to
succeed, on and of the pitch.
Tis is the measure of a player’s stance on playing the game fairly. It
highlights whether or not a player will break the rules to win games.
Tis is the measure of a player’s ability to handle pressure and perform
in the big games. It can afect matches against big teams or matches in
the latter stages of competitions.
Tis is the measure of a player’s ability to remain free of injury. It can
afect the level of training he can endure before injury; it also afects
how he responds to and recovers from bad tackles in matches.
Tis is the measure of a player’s desire to stay at his club. It can afect
whether or not he remains at his club when a bigger team or a more
lucrative ofer comes his way.
Tis is the measure of a player’s mental ability to deal with difcult
situations. It can afect his ability to perform during the big occasions
on the pitch.
Tis is the measure of a player’s attitude to work. It can afect his career
longevity, his approach to training and his conduct on the pitch.
Tis is the measure of a player’s mentality towards fair play. It
highlights how ethical a player will be on the pitch.
Tis is the measure of a player’s calmness when involved in specifc
match events – things such as tackles, fouls and bookings.
Tis is the measure of a player’s ability to perform well in a role he's not
comfortable playing in.
Now, before we get into the defnitions of the personality tags and look at how they link to
their personality attributes, it’s important to understand how they function. It’s also very
useful to know which personality tags indicate the lack of another personality attribute.
Te personality attributes work in the exact same way as the other attributes work. Tey’re
categorised into felds and ranked from 1-20 (imagine a fourth column next to Technical,
Mental and Physical attributes). Te diference is that these personality attributes are so
important that it would be unrealistic to show you them in great detail; this is why they are
displayed as tags instead of numerical values.
Now, this is the complex issue behind the personality tags – there can only be one tag, so the
most dominating attribute in a player’s personality will dictate which tag is shown.
So, for example: how would you tell if a player who is “Temperamental” has good Pressure
attributes? Well, there is no defnitive way in the game to ascertain which hidden attributes
have which numerical values – all you can do is exercise some logic. Obviously a player who is
“Temperamental”, has such a poor Temperament value that his other attribute values must be
less impressive. Terefore you can only really assess this player as a liability.
It’s not conclusive evidence that he’s exceedingly poor in other areas, as he could have a ‘1’ for
Temperament and a ‘17’ for Pressure (in this case, Temperament is the stronger attribute because
it's closer to '0' than Pressure is to '20'). Now, because a negative attribute is the strongest
personality attribute for this player (and every player gets only one personality tag), he's going
to have a negative personality tag – and that’s the overwhelming problem with players having
bad personality tags – it’s impossible to tell how good their other personality attributes are.
Fortunately, thanks to some old test research at SI Games, we can look at some indications as to
which attributes are associated with each tag. It’s not numerically specifc because there wasn’t any
conclusive evidence on the difering values, but it’s defnitely accurate enough to give you a clear-cut
understanding of the dynamics of each personality tag (see the “Personality Dynamics” crib sheet).
Description and Efect
Tis indicates that a player has a well-rounded personality. It’s
essentially someone who is not excellent in any specifc personality
area, but at the same time he’s not a liability in any area either. It’s not
really the most desirable trait to have in a player because the player
lacks strong Determination and Ambition attributes, but having said
that, he’s not going to have an adverse afect on the team.
Tis indicates that a player is completely determined and leads by
example. It’s the kind of player every manager would want; he’s highly
infuential and has a strong efect on the players around him.
Obviously, it’s one of the best tags any player can have – especially a
Tis indicates that a player is very similar to a Born Leader, but
slightly less infuential and less determined. Again, it’s an extremely
desirable trait – certainly in a captain.
Tis indicates that a player has an almost perfect personality, although
he'd not be the best example of leadership material, due to a lacking
Infuence attribute. Tis is a very determined and ambitious player
who is also loyal, professional and is likely to be a very good
sportsman. In my opinion, this is the most desirable trait to look for
in a player.
Tis indicates that a player is extremely focussed with regards to
Ambition, Determination and Professionalism. He is a player much
like a Leader, but without the Infuence. Tis is an extremely desirable
trait to have in a player, due to their work-ethic, drive and
professionalism. Players like this often work hard enough to hit their
peak and stay at their peak for a lot longer than the less professional
players around them.
Tis indicates that a player is extremely focussed and well tempered.
Tis is someone who doesn’t step out of line and instead focuses
entirely on their game; even though the player is lacking some
Ambition and Determination, these players often have the ability to
have longer and better careers due to their exemplary Professionalism
attribute. Obviously, it's a trait which is most desirable for managers
who want to encourage a well-behaved team.
Tis indicates that a player is a much like the Model Professional, but
slightly less focussed on their professionalism. Again, not a trait that
signifes much Ambition or Determination, but it gives an indication
as to how hard the player will work in trying to become a better
player. Obviously, it’s a great trait to look for in a player.
Tis indicates that a player is moderately focussed and well tempered.
Again, it’s a ‘watered-down’ version of the other Professional tags, but
it’s certainly not undesirable to have players like this in the team.
Even though they sound rather lackadaisical when compared to their
counter-parts, they’re only slightly less professional than the others.
Tis indicates that a player is quite balanced with regards to
Sportsmanship and Professionalism. Tis player is rational and is
unlikely to get into controversial situations; although it doesn’t
indicate much with regards to his temper. It’s not a bad trait to have,
it’s quite ‘middle-of-the-road’ as far as personality tags go.
Tis indicates that a player has a bad temper and is highly
controversial. He’s going to be the worst kind of player you can look
to have in your team – on and of the pitch. It’s obviously a trait to
Tis indicates that a player is a lose cannon. His Temperament is
extremely low and he’s going to be a risk to the harmony of the team
of the pitch, as well as being a ticking bomb on the pitch. Obviously,
it’s not a trait you’d want in a player
Tis indicates that a player has very low Temperament and is also a
bad sportsman. On the pitch, this guy is going to be a huge problem.
Obviously, it’s not a desirable trait to have.
Tis indicates that a player is a potential risk; his Temperament is
pretty low and there is every chance that he will cause trouble on and
of the pitch. Obviously, it’s not a trait to look for.
Tis indicates that a player is controversial and is likely to speak his
mind. Tis could unbalance the team and cause trouble in the dressing
room or in the media. It’s not an ideal trait to have.
Tis indicates that a player is the exact opposite of the Outspoken
type. He’ll be quite savvy in what he says and is unlikely to cause
many poor media situations. It’s not the worst trait to have, although
it doesn't indicate what a player will do for you on the pitch.
Tis indicates that a player is quiet and calm. Tis player is very
professional and not remotely controversial; he’s unlikely to do
anything but focus on his game. It’s a trait which would be good in
Tis indicates that a player is laid-back and cheerful. Tis player is
great under pressure and has a fairly balanced temperament. As it
goes, it’s not the worst trait to have in a player, but it’s not the most
sought after either; it can indicate that a player is a bit too relaxed to
work hard, but it has it’s rewards on the pitch in difcult situations.
Tis indicates that a player is relaxed. Tis player is great under
pressure, quite determined and also a good sportsman too. It’s a trait
which would be good in any player, as this is a player who is good for
Tis indicates that a player is upbeat. Tis player will be good under
pressure, very professional and won’t have a bad temperament. It's a
trait which would be good in any player.
Tis indicates that a player is too relaxed to get the job done; he’s not
very professional and has poor Determination. Obviously, it’s a trait to
Tis indicates that a player is very determined and highly
professional. Tis player is very focussed on the task and will be a
great addition to the team.
Tis indicates a player who will stop at nothing to win; he lives,
breathes and eats success. Tis player is far more determined than any
other – which obviously, is a very desirable trait to have in a player.
Tis indicates that a player is only slightly less focussed on succeeding
at the club than a Driven player. It’s a good trait to have in a player,
because he’ll do what he can to win.
Fairly Determined Tis indicates that a player has average Determination. Not an
undesirable trait to have in a player, they’re often slightly more
ambitious than their other Determined counter-parts.
Tis indicates that a player is seriously lacking in Determination. It’s a
very undesirable trait because it shows a lack of not only the will to
win, but also a lack of Ambition and Professionalism.
Tis indicates that a player is completely void of Determination. It’s
one of the worst personality tags a player can have.
Tis indicates that a player has low Determination, but is also very
poor under pressure. He’s going to have no confdence and that
undermine all his other attributes as a result. It’s a trait you’d be
looking to avoid having in the team.
Tis indicates that a player has low Determination and
Professionalism. As a result, the player will make little to no efort to
train or play. It’s a trait signifcant of a very lazy individual and would
be something to avoid at all costs.
Tis indicates that a player has low Determination and is poor under
pressure. As a result, the player will crumble on the pitch. It’s another
undesirable trait which will undermine a player’s attributes.
Tis indicates that a player is extremely good with Pressure. Tis
player is also very determined and mentally strong. Tis is a very good
trait to have in a player, if not one of the best, as he’s highly unlikely
to crumble on the pitch when you most need him to deliver.
Tis indicates that a player is good under pressure and has a good
temperament. He’s a mentally strong player and will be cool, calm and
collected on the pitch. Tis is another fantastic trait to have in a
Tis indicates that a player is very good with handling Pressure and is
very professional. Tis player will be strong and durable on the pitch.
Again, another fantastic trait to have.
Tis indicates how much a player wants to play and succeed at the
highest level. It’s a double-edged sword, because a team with a lower
reputation would struggle to hold on to this player, but the player will
have a positive impact on the pitch, because he’s aiming to get to the
top. Te desirability of this trait often hinges on whether a club can
sign the player or keep the player signed to the club.
Tis indicates that a player is slightly less ambitious than those Very
Ambitious players. Tese players are not very loyal to teams who don’t
match their ambitions. Obviously, it’s a trait which as mentioned
above, has cons, but players with Ambition work hard to realise their
objectives – thus meaning it’s a good trait for a player to have.
Tis indicates that a player is moderately ambitious, but slightly more
loyal to the club. As you’d expect, he’s a slightly ‘watered-down’ version
of the ambitious players. Again, it’s a trait which will signal a player
will work pretty hard to achieve his goals and it’s an attribute which is
good to have in any player.
Tis indicates a poorly motivated player. He’s not really someone you
should look to buy – even if he’s willing to stay at the team as a result
of his lack of Ambition. Tis trait signifes a player who is unlikely to
ever have enough gumption to reach his potential. With regards to
desirability, it’s one of the worst personality tags to have.
Tis indicates a mentally strong player who is fairly determined and is
very capable of handling pressure. Players like this are very strong
characters and can be very efective on the pitch, due to their ability to
not give up and not be phased by the situations they fnd themselves
in. Tis is a trait which is very desirable in a player.
Tis indicates a player loves his club and would never wish to leave.
It’s misunderstood as are the other Loyalty tags – often highly valued,
but when considered, it’s only an attribute you’d want in a player who
was already a star. It sacrifces Ambition and Determination in favour
of Loyalty – both of those traits are the driving force of the best
players. It’s an admirable trait, but not a trait that you’d really want in
a player unless you didn’t wish to ever part with him.
Tis indicates that a player is completely loyal to his club, although
not as much as the Devoted players. It’s an attribute with merit when
it’s held by a player who you absolutely need to keep at your club. If
you’re a big team, this attribute is relatively useless, as it’s indicative of
players with fairly low Ambition and Determination. You’d only want
this trait in a player when you’re at a club where the player could leave
and you desperately need to hang on to him.
Tis indicates that a player is loyal to his club. As above, it’s a good
attribute for players at teams which need to keep the player. Tis trait
has slightly less Loyalty and as a result, slightly more Ambition,
which makes it more desirable than a Very Loyal trait, but still it's
relatively useless to teams who’d require a player to be ambitious and
determined, rather than loyal.
Tis indicates that a player is moderately loyal; which as above, is
only a good attribute for players at teams which need to keep the
player. Tis trait has less Loyalty and slightly more Ambition than the
Loyal trait, which would make it slightly more desirable than both the
other Loyalty personality tags.
Tis indicates that a player epitomises what it is to be a sportsman.
He has an exceptional Sportsmanship attribute and as such will
behave with impeccable behaviour on the pitch. As far as desirability
goes, it’s nice to have an honest player, but it’s not always the most
Tis indicates that a player is fair and will behave himself on the pitch
– just like the Honest players. Again, it’s a nice trait to have, but it’s
not overly rewarding.
Tis indicates that a player is moderately fair; he behaves himself on
the pitch and is unlikely to get into trouble. As with the other
Sportsmanship tags, it’s nice to have, but not overly rewarding.
Tis indicates that a player is lacking Sportsmanship. He’s quite
logical in the sense that sportsmanship isn’t an overly rewarding trait
to have, so he doesn’t opt to have it. With regards to desirability, it’s a
trait with no real beneft.
Tis indicates that a player is completely devoid of Sportsmanship.
He’s the John McEnroe of football. With regards to desirability, it’s
obviously much like the Realist trait, but worse. It’s not a trait you’d
want a player to have.
What you should consider is that these personality tags are only indications of the highest
values of a player's hidden attributes. So, for example: if a player is tagged as “Media-Friendly”
it suggests he’s better with Controversy than any of the other hidden personality attributes.
Now, “Media-Friendly” is not a bad personality tag, but it’s not really benefcial to a player,
because that means that Controversy the strongest aspect of his personality – ahead of things
such as Ambition, Determination and Professionalism. As a result, we can’t ascertain the
ratings his more important personality attributes have – which shows that a bad personality
tag doesn’t always mean that player's other attributes are low, it just means that the bad
attribute is the most apparent and the levels of the player's preferred attributes are unknown.
Now, you should note that these personality tags can change with tutoring, so utilise tutoring to get
the best from a player who may be very promising, but is not showing suitable personality attributes.
Preferred Player Moves
As with the personality tags, there is another frequently overlooked element to a player – in
this case, it’s Preferred Player Moves (or PPM’s, for short). Tese moves either indicate a
player’s ability to exercise a certain manoeuvre or they relate to part of their on-feld
personality. Below you can see a description as to what each PPM label means.
Preferred Player Move
Description and Effect
Argues with ofcials
Tis label indicates that a player is highly likely to get involved in
confrontations with match ofcials - which can result in the player
being issued with a card. Couple this PPM with a poor Aggression
attribute and/or a poor behavioural personality tag, and you’ll have
a highly volatile player on your hands.
Arrives late in
Tis label indicates that a player will delay his entry into the box
during an attacking move. He’s going to look to hold his run and
ofer another option as he enters the box behind the frst wave of
players attacking the box - this can give the player more time and
space on the ball in a key area.
Tis label indicates that a player will attempt acrobatic manoeuvres.
Tis is only going to be efective with good Agility, Technique,
Flair and Finishing/Passing attributes (depending on whether the
player is shooting or passing the ball). Tis PPM does not suggest a
player will be able to execute the move, rather than he is willing to
try the overhead kick – which could easily be a bad thing, if the
player doesn't have the ability to execute the trait.
Avoids using weaker
Tis label indicates that a player will do anything he can to avoid
using his weak foot. It’s a PPM which has both pros and cons,
because the player is most likely to execute something far better
with his stronger foot – and therefore be more accurate and more
efective. However, it equates to a lower adaptability in certain
situations (i.e. a striker running into the box, with a small area of
space in which he can score, but only if he uses his weak foot).
Comes deep to get
Tis label indicates that a player will drop deeper than his assigned
position to pick up possession. Tis can be both a pro and a con,
because you might not want your lone striker dropping deep and
taking pressure of the opposition defence, but it’s very handy for
players who have a great ability to utilise possession (players with
good Creativity, Of Te Ball, Technique and Passing attributes).
Tis label indicates that a player opts to curl the ball in certain
situations. Tis can be very useful when players are taking shots,
playing though-balls or taking set-pieces. Attributes which may
infuence this PPM would be Technique and either Finishing or
Passing, depending on the scenario.
Tis label indicates that a player will act much like an “Inside
Forward” and come into the middle of the pitch, instead of
hugging the line and getting the ball to the by-line for a cross. Pros
and cons with this should be rather obvious – you either want a
winger to play like Messi or Beckham. In terms of attributes, it
depends on how the player is deployed; if the player is cutting
inside and shooting, then obviously, Long Shots, Technique,
Finishing and Dribbling attributes would be more important than
the Crossing, Dribbling, Decisions and Passing attributes – which
are important for wingers.
Tis label indicates that a player will control the game. Tis PPM is
most useful on players who have exceptional midfeld skills
(Passing, Technique, Decisions, Creativity, Of Te Ball,
Anticipation). Te immediate con would be that this PPM is
useless (and even detrimental) in a player who does not possess the
ability to execute it efectively.
Dives into tackles
Tis label indicates that a player has a ‘gung-ho’ mentality to
winning the ball. It’s much like the “Argues with ofcials” PPM,
with regards to it being a very negative trait on the wrong player. A
player would need good Anticipation, Aggression and Tackling
attributes to balance out this Preferred Player Move.
Does not dive into
Tis label indicates that a player has a more logical approach to
winning the ball. He’s most likely to stand of his rival and wait for
a good tackling opportunity to present itself. It’s obviously a PPM
with more positives than it’s opposite.
Dwells on ball
Tis label indicates that a player will be very comfortable in
possession and will keep the ball for as long as he can. It’s only
going to be benefcial on players who have good Creativity,
Composure, Decision and Passing attributes, which allow them to
successfully hold the ball and release it without losing it. In terms
of it being a con – if a player has this trait and you’re playing a
quick, direct tempo in your tactical instruction, then it’s going to
confict with that mentality, as the player is slowing the fow of the
attack and holding on to possession more than you'd want him to.
Gets crowd going
Tis label indicates that a player has a certain infuence over the
crowd. Tis player will get the crowd ‘pumped’ and will give the
atmosphere a big boost (in your team’s favour) when he’s on the
ball. It’s obviously a big pro, if you consider the efect the crowd
will have on the team.
Tis label indicates that a player has a penchant for getting into
attacking positions whenever he can. Obviously this can have a
negative afect on players who are supposed to be defensively
positioned at all times, but it’s certainly positive for players who
you’d want to get forward and get involved in the attacking game
as often as possible.
Gets into opposition
Tis label indicates that a player will endeavour to get into the
opposition’s box when he can. Again, like the “Get forward
whenever possible” PPM, the merit of this hinges on the position
of the player who has the trait.
Hits free-kicks with
Tis label indicates that a player will strike a free-kick with power,
rather than with fnesse. Whether it’s more of a pro or a con is up
for debate, but you'd still want a player to have good Finishing,
Long Shots, Free-Kick Taking, Technique, Decisions and
Composure attributes, when they're taking your free-kicks.
Tis label indicates that a player will stay out wide on the touchline
instead of coming inside with the ball. It’s the exact opposite of the
“Cuts inside” PPM.
Knocks ball past
Tis label indicates that a player will put the ball past his opponent
as he takes him on. With this PPM, it’s important to consider the
player’s Dribbling, Pace and Acceleration attributes, as he’s going to
need good attributes to execute this PPM efciently.
Likes ball played into
Tis label indicates a player’s preference to how he receives the ball.
Tis PPM signals that a player prefers to keep possession, rather
than chase passes or deal with aerial threats around him, which can
be a plus with regards to keeping the ball, but it can be a negative if
this player is a key part of your team and you want to play a
diferent style of football around him. Tis PPM is much more
efective with players who have good First Touch attributes.
Likes to beat man
Tis label indicates that a player has a penchant for taking players
on when he’s in possession. Again, like some other PPM's it’s
efectiveness hinges on the Technical attributes of the player
things such as Dribbling, Acceleration, Pace, Agility and Balance.
Also, you should consider where this player is positioned and how
he is instructed, because this PPM may not be ideal in a player
you’d preferred passed the ball rather than dribbled the ball.
Likes to lob keeper
Tis label indicates that a player has a penchant for lifting the ball
over the goalkeeper, rather than slotting it to the side of him. With
this PPM, it’s important to have a player with good Finishing,
Technique, Decisions and Composure attributes. Given that it’s
efectiveness comes down to the situation in which it’s executed, it's
hard to say if it's a pro or a con, although in one-on-one situations
this PPM could be very efective, if the player had the ability to
successfully execute the PPM.
Likes to round
Tis label indicates that a player has a penchant for going around
the goalkeeper with the ball, instead of shooting frst-time. Again,
like the “Likes to lob keeper” PPM, the success rate of this trait
would depend on the player’s Technical attributes, in this case
Agility, Composure and Dribbling. As above, it’s success hinges on
the scenario in which the PPM is executed, but it would be most
likely to increase goal-scoring efciency in one-on-one situations.
Likes to switch ball
to other fank
Tis label indicates that a player has a penchant for keeping
possession by moving the ball across the pitch when the opposition
become too tight on his side of the pitch. As outlined, it’s a very
useful PPM, but only efective when found in players with good
Passing, Technique and Creativity attributes.
Likes to try to beat
Tis label indicates that a player has a penchant for anticipating
and exploiting an attacking opportunity by timing his runs against
the last defender. It’s obviously a magnifcent PPM to have in an
attacking player, who has the ability to execute the PPM correctly.
Players with this PPM would require good Anticipation, Of Te
Ball, Acceleration and Pace attributes.
Looks for pass rather
than attempting to
Tis label indicates that a player will opt to play the ball to another
player rather than shoot. Whilst this PPM seems negative, it can
have a big plus when it comes to getting the ball past the
goalkeeper or last defender. Obviously a player's Passing attribute
would need to be good, but Composure, Creativity and Decisions
would also be very benefcial in any player with this PPM.
Tis label indicates that a player stays close to his opponent when
marking him. Tis is a much debated PPM, with regards to it’s
status as a positive or negative trait. Ideally, players with this PPM
will need good Marking, Tackling, Heading and Strength
attributes, but beware, these players can be duped by highly skilled
opponents who have an excellent First Touch attribute, a good
Anticipation attribute and a good Acceleration attribute.
Moves ball to left
foot before dribble
Tis label indicates that a player prefers to dribble on his left foot.
It’s not an advantageous PPM, it’s more of a technical quirk which can be exploited by the “Show Player onto ‘x’ foot” trait.
Moves ball to right
foot before dribble
Tis label indicates that a player prefers to dribble on his right foot.
As above, it’s not advantageous, it’s the mirror opposite to the
“Moves ball to left foot before dribble attempt” PPM.
Moves into channels
Tis label indicates that a player likes to look for and exploit the
space between the Full-back and the Central Defender. With this
PPM, you’re going to want players to have good Of Te Ball,
Anticipation and First Touch attributes.
Tis label indicates that a player prefers to take shots in a more
refned manner than simply hitting the ball with power. With this
PPM, you’re likely to see an increase in accuracy, but attributes
such as Finishing, Technique, Decisions and Composure will still
afect the outcome of the shot.
Plays no throughballs
Tis label indicates that a player opts not to play passes into spaces,
instead preferring to play the ball directly to the player. Tis PPM
can be both advantageous (with regards to keeping possession) but
it sacrifces creative manoeuvres as a result.
Plays one twos
Tis label indicates that a player has a penchant for performing
quick passing manoeuvres with players around him. It’s a very
positive PPM to have in a player, as it will be very difcult for
defenders to win the ball in these situations. Attributes which
would beneft this PPM would be First-Touch, Composure,
Passing, Of Te Ball, Anticipation, Acceleration, Decisions and
Plays short simple
Tis label indicates that a player has a penchant for performing
simple passes to players near him. It’s a highly benefcial attribute
for players who are instructed to play short passes, but it’s obviously
going to be more of an issue if your team plays a more direct or
long passing game. With this PPM, the key attributes would be
Passing and Decisions.
Plays with back to
Tis label indicates a player’s preference to play facing his teammates. Tis PPM would suggest players would be more aware with
regards to what’s going on around them and would be better at
receiving the ball as a result. Te downside is that they then have to
turn around with the ball (if they receive it). Attributes linked to
this PPM would be First Touch and Of Te Ball.
Runs with ball down
Tis label indicates a player’s habitual running pattern. With this
PPM, players will look to get down the fank and run at players.
Tis PPM can defne the type of player you have – for example: a
right-footed player who likes to run down the left, would typically
prefer to come inside and shoot, rather than reach the by-line and
cross the ball. Attributes which help to support this PPM would be
Dribbling, Agility, Acceleration, Pace and Decisions – Long Shots,
Shooting/Crossing and Technique attributes would need to be
considered depending on the ‘footed-ness’ of the player and the
position he was occupying.
Runs with ball down
Tis label indicates a player’s habitual running pattern. As above, it
is the same style of PPM, except on the opposite side of the pitch.
Runs with ball
Tis label indicates a player’s habitual running pattern. Unlike the
above wider running patterns, the central pattern is slightly
diferent. Tis PPM would indicate a player tries to run though the
most occupied area of the pitch, and as such, this means that a
player will need good Decisions, Creativity, Passing, Composure,
Dribbling, Agility, Technique and Balance attributes.
Shoots with power
Tis label indicates that a player likes to hit the ball with power,
rather than with fnesse. With this PPM, a player sacrifces
accuracy for power. However, with good Finishing, Decisions and
Technique attributes, this PPM could ofer both accuracy and
power. It’s particularly efcient alongside a good Long Shots
Shoots from distance
Tis label indicates that a player likes to shoot from outside the
box. Tis PPM can be highly efective in midfeld players, certainly
those with good Finishing, Long Shots, Technique and Decisions
Stays back at all
Tis label indicates that a player is never going to go forward and
support the attack. With this PPM, the defence remains stronger,
but in instances such as corners, it’s often advantageous to have a
big, strong aerial presence in the box – which could be sacrifced
with this PPM, as it’s mostly defensive players who have it. Tere
are no specifc attributes tied to this PPM, but Concentration,
Decisions and Positioning would be good in a player who’s sitting
back; good Physical attributes would also be a plus.
Tis label indicates that a player will hold the ball up when he
needs to (i.e. in situations when his opponents are outnumbering
his team-mates). Tis PPM requires good Decisions, Composure,
Strength and Passing attributes, as you’ll want the player to not
only hold the ball, but also keep it and use it well.
Tries frst time shots
Tis label indicates that a player will attempt quick shots in a bid
to catch the goalkeeper of-guard. Te pro to this PPM would be
that players have an attacking edge, but the con would be that the
shot may be rushed and inefective as a result. Attributes that
would aid this PPM would be Finishing, Decisions, Composure
Tries killer balls
Tis label indicates that a player will frequently attempt to catch
the opposition of-guard with difcult and adventurous passes. As
above with the “Tries frst time shots” PPM, the success of this trait
would hinge on the Technique, Passing, Decisions, and Creativity
attributes of the player.
Tries long range free- Tis label indicates that a player will attempt to score from freekicks
kicks at distance. Te pros of this PPM would depend on the
ability of the set-piece taker’s Long Shots, Finishing, Decisions
and Composure attributes. If the player has poor attributes, he’d
just waste the opportunity.
Tries long range
Tis label indicates that a player will attempt to pass the ball at
range. As with the “Tries killer balls often” PPM, this trait would
require exceptional skills to be successful. Attributes which would
aid this PPM would be Technique, Passing, Decisions and
Tis label indicates that a player uses his ball skills as a way to get
past players. With this PPM, a player will need to be highly gifted
with his Flair and Creativity attributes to successfully make use of
this PPM. Other attributes such as Dribbling, Agility and Balance
could be advantageous.
Tries to play way out
Tis label indicates that a player will attempt to get out of tricky
situations using his abilities. As a result, players may require
attributes such as, Dribbling, Acceleration, Technique, Flair,
Creativity, Balance, Agility, Strength and Composure, to execute
the PPM successfully. If the player lacks good attributes, it’s very
likely that he’ll lose the ball.
Uses outside of foot
Tis label indicates that a player will utilise the outside of his foot
when passing or shooting. Tis PPM can ofer the player another
option when on the ball, so it’s obviously useful, but it’s
efectiveness hinges on whether the player has a good Technique
attribute or not.
Winds up opponents
Tis label indicates that a player will aggravate his opponents. Tis
PPM can force the opposition to react negatively towards the
player, thus resulting in them committing a foul or being carded.
Give some thought to the Preferred Player Moves label a player has and then compare it to
the attributes you think would pertain to the label – for example: the frst PPM in the table
highlights the dynamics of the “Argues with ofcials” PPM and how it would be afected by
the Aggression attribute or the player’s Personality attributes – obviously, it's a toxic mixture.
Just like all of these other bonus traits, you need to exercise logic when you’re training or
scouting players with these PPM’s, because PPM's, attributes and personalities – they're all
intertwined and can be unstable or problematic when used together (if they're not suited to
each other). Look for balance, use logic and you'll get the best results from them.
Teaching Preferred Player Moves
Tese Preferred Player Moves can be taught and un-taught, but you don’t have the ability to
train your players to adopt all of them. It’s very, very important to cull Preferred Player Moves
which aren’t suited to your player’s abilities – doing this can radically change their ability to
perform on the pitch. At the same time, consider teaching players with good attributes,
Preferred Player Moves which complement their abilities – this can allow you to develop a
better player. Consider the combination of Preferred Player Moves and how they’d work with
each other (i.e. teaching a right-footed winger, with very good Physical attributes, good
Finishing, Technique and Long Shots attributes, the “Cuts inside”, “Runs with ball down left”
and “Tries frst time shots” PPM traits). Tat’s just an example of one extra dynamic you can
add to a player. Tink of Preferred Player Moves as skill moves and begin educating your
players on the art of executing them. Teaching Preferred Player Moves to players is no
diferent to working on a training schedule or the Match Preparation module, it’s all relative
to player growth and it’s an invaluable outlet of training and player improvement for a
It’s also worth noting that some of these traits should only be taught to certain positions; for
example: it’s a shocking idea to teach a central defender the “Tries to play way out of trouble”
Preferred Player Moves – he’d massively increase the risk of losing the ball in a vital area and
conceding a goal – although, generally speaking, if you follow the outline above, central
defenders wouldn’t have the attributes needed for that specifc PPM anyway.
Tere’s a lot more to cover, but it’s not all relevant to this section of the guide, so see the “Player
Tutoring” section to read how you can teach the unlockable Preferred Player Moves and also how you
can teach them without having to take up time in a player’s training routine.
- Chapter Five -
Understanding the Fundamental Elements of Tactics
With a multitude of options, the tactical creation side of the game is quite overwhelming, but
once you learn the meaning behind certain settings, you can easily get to grips with creating
your own efective tactics. With that in mind, we'll take a look at the fundamental elements of
tactics and how you'd go about piecing your own tactic together.
Tactics in FM are broken up into separate methods of instruction: formation, team
instructions, player duties, player roles, player instructions and touchline shouts. When
building a tactic, the immediate issues to deal with are your players. You need to decide how
they're going to ft into your tactic or if you're going to build a tactic around what you have at
the club. Sometimes, this decision is made for you, so it's best to review the squad fully, see
which attributes your players have and how efective they'd be in a specifc role; then begin to
piece your tactical shape together and if you need to, hit the transfer market for some players.
Te starting point of any tactic requires you to assess your players to see who and what you're
working with. After you've done that, you should have some idea of what kind of formation
you're going to play. Most people tend to opt for a balanced 4-4-2, a more attacking 4-3-3 or
a more defensive 4-5-1 – these three tactics are the more popular shapes, but none of them
have to dictate the way you choose to play the game. You could, for example: go with the 451
which ofers strong defensive numbers and overcrowds the middle of the pitch (at the expense
of the attacking threat of two strikers); with that you could opt to be overly attacking and
push high up the pitch – you don't necessarily need to sit back and counter-attack or play
defensively just because your formation suggests it should be a more defensive tactic.
Te overall thing to remember when selecting a formation is that you should take into
account who you have in your team and the strength of those players; for example: if you don't
have strong wingers, it's better to deploy your team to work through the middle of the pitch,
solidify the midfeld and look to get the stronger players involved in the game (although, not at
the expense of playing players out of position) – it's highly inadvisable to play weaker players just
because they ft your preferred formation. If you can't replace the weak players, look to create a
shape which has balance, but also potency; don’t give the weaker players a role which they’ll
struggle to impress in, give them minimal duties and instead get the better players involved.
You should also remember not to be scared of getting creative or being less orthodox with
your tactics (certainly if something doesn't work for you), you can always change it. When
building your tactic, consider that you need to create a realistic shape; it's important to ponder
how easily your defence could be exploited, how well your players can get the ball from
defence to attack and how efective the shape of the attacking line could be during an attack.
Te best formations have balance between the shape of the formation and the players in the
Philosophy is a hugely important aspect of the tactical setup, as it defnes the behaviour of the
players. Basically, a more Fluid style of play would have the entire team operating in a similar
manner – attacking and defending as a unit. A more Rigid style of play would be the complete
opposite to the Fluid style, forcing the players to do exactly what you've told them (this can
have an efect on their creativity and improvisation); this would see the team would split based
on their duties and roles – with defenders staying back and attackers pushing up.
Tese settings however, operate within the parameters of a player's personality, so don't expect
someone like Berbatov to start defending of the line during an opposition counter-attack (if
you're set to a Very Fluid style), their Mental attributes and personalities still come into play.
With that said, let’s take a look at the settings in more detail…
Balanced – Tis is your best option if you're looking for a middle ground between a Fluid and
Rigid mentality. With this you'll divide the team into attacking, supporting and defending
roles; defenders will sit back, midfelders will sit in the middle to support and attackers will
push up to pressure the opposition (depending on their duties) – this will give you the ability
to set the entire team up in a manner that will allow them to be much more dynamic in their
attacking and defending – without restricting them from being occasionally creative (like
either of the Rigid philosophies can do) and it will also keep them from being as exploited as they
might be with a Fluid philosophy.
It's important to note that this mentality will put more emphasis on the duties and roles your
players are set to, as they'll be using those as instructions for their positions on the pitch. If
you've got a lack of balance in the duties or roles which the players are set to, it will afect the
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