Football journalist and FIFA fan Darren Cross looks at five common defensive mistakes in FUT 14 and tips to avoid them.
One: Constantly Applying Pressure
For starters, applying pressure without the ball is really bad. Their shape of team will be destroyed under a never-ending high-pressure tactic since players charge around until they end up out of position, leaving big spaces in dangerous areas. A good opponent will quickly spot this pressing tactic and will simply play the ball around your chasers while waiting for one of these gaps to open up. Once opponents advance into that space it’ll be harder to stop their attack. First you’ll most likely need to move another defender out of position to halt the advance – leaving a gap somewhere else. Then it’ll eat your players’ stamina up. If pressing too aggressively you will always find opponents have more stamina remaining than yours.
How to avoid
Unless chasing the game with just a few minutes to go, you can generally avoid pressing players in your opponent’s third. Although chasing them down there will pay off occasionally, most of the time your forwards make a fruitless run as the opposition pass them by, sapping their stamina levels, which could prove vital later in the match.
Just start and increase pressure once the other team approaches the middle third as they get closer to the danger areas. Then keep eyes on who is doing the chasing and where they should be with the pressure cranking up, and always make sure to switch to a different defender once the ball leaves your current player’s zone of the pitch.
Two: Pressing with Centre-Backs
If you use contain or secondary contain without worrying much about which of your players are applying the pressure then, as the ball gets closer to your third of the pitch, there’s a good chance one of your centre-backs will move out of the back line to close it down. As your CB moves out he is likely to leave an opposing striker unmarked in the worst place possible, which again makes the attacker’s job so much easier. It’s a very easy mistake to make and almost always results in conceding a goal, so it’s vital to keep your centre-backs together and in line.
How to avoid
Watch your CBs and react quickly when they start pressing. If you’re in control of the player and suddenly realize you have a centre-back selected, use the player change button or the right stick to switch to someone else. Your defender should then move back into position automatically. While, if you’re using secondary contain and notice a CB stepping out, just release the secondary contain button and try again when a different defending player is closer to the ball than your centre-backs.
In both cases, speed is the key. The faster you can spot your CB moving out of position and do something about it, the quicker his recovery.
Three: Rushing Tackles
it’s another mistake you need a long time to remedy, because it’s so tempting to always try to win the ball back as quickly as possible by diving into tackles or edging around attackers in an effort to nick it away.
How to avoid
The first thing to do is slow down. If the defender closest to the ball can hold his position and make it difficult for the attacker to pass him – perhaps even forcing the player to turn back or pass to a team-mate – then that’s much better defensively than flying into a risky tackle or aggressively trying to steal the ball. Then come back to the shape. If you can keep yours while steadily applying pressure and waiting for the right moment to win the ball back then you’ve got a better chance of stopping the attack. There is also a time to go for a riskier tackle – either to block a shot or as a last resort.
Four: Sprinting everywhere
whenever you’re moving without the ball it’s so easy to constantly hold sprint, but avoid that when approaching a player in possession in FIFA 14 is really important. It’s very easy for the attacking player to change direction when your approach is too quick and thanks to the momentum system your player is out of the game for just long enough for the attacker to get past.
How to avoid
Use the sprint button to quickly close the distance when you need to, but reduce your speed before you get too close to the ball. It sounds simple but if you’re used to sprinting almost by default then it can take some getting used to.
Five: Overplaying at the Back
It can be tempting to try something a bit flash even when defending, a cushioned header to a team-mate in own box, a quick turn to trick a striker or a flash pass after just winning the ball back in a crowd of players.
How to avoid
Just use the shoot button more in defense. If one of your defenders is competing for a cross then use the shoot button to head it as far away from danger as possible, instead of trying to direct it to a team-mate with the pass button. Similarly, if you’re in a race with a striker and there’s any doubt at all about being able to control the ball or pass it safely, you can use the shoot button to get it away. Of course, if you can safely control the ball and start an attack then do, but if it seems even slightly risky then you take no chances.