How to set up defensively?

28 posts Park Captain
edited November 2021
Many of the opponents I play against in Rivals and Champions Qualifying, whenever play approaches their penalty area, it will be crowded out by their defenders and defensive midfielders being very close to the player with the ball, blocking where I can dribble or even pass. Even if I manage to evade the opponent-controlled player, I will inadvertently run into an AI-controlled one.

However, when play approaches my penalty area, my players seem to be scattered across the width of the pitch. My defenders would be a few paces behind between the ball and my goal, while my midfielders will be away at the side or even in front, except for the one I am actively controlling trying to tackle and block the possible passes at the same time. I even tried switching players and dragging them one by one nearer the ball, but the ones I am not controlling will then slowly back away again.

How do I set up defensively like that?

I play 4-3-2-1, with 2 of the 3 central midfielders more "defensively" minded and defensively set up.

I have tried adjusting depth and width between 90 all the way down to 10, but it doesn't achieve that effect. Strange thing is I've ever been caught with a through ball even with 10 depth and drop back.
At width 10, my players still appear scattered across the pitch. i.e. whatever tactics don't seem to have any positive effect. I've tried press on possession loss and press on poor touch, but they don't seem to trigger the press at the right time (when opponent is near penalty area). Constant pressure totally doesn't work. It leaves me open to long balls (whatever the depth), and leave all my players tired by half time.

Player instructions?
My 4 defenders and the 2 "defensively minded" central midfielders are all set to stay back while attacking and aggresive interception. The 2 midfielders are set to cover center. The 4 defenders are also set to step up. (I find that without aggresive interception and step up, even more space is available for the opponent to move forward with the ball, pass or shoot.)

Choice of players?
My defensive players are Robertson-VVD-IF Romero-Wan Bissaka, Ndidi-Fabinho.

Do they toggle different tactices (mentality) at different phases of play? (e.g. set defensive to constant pressure, then when ball approaches penalty area, toggle to defensive tactics). When I tried, the change of tactics take some time and doesn't adapt fast enough to do such a thing.

Do they toggle "Team Press" when ball approaches penalty area? Again, when I tried, the efffect seems too delayed to be effective, but maybe I'm doing it wrong...


  • svatocraft
    135 posts Has Potential To Be Special
    Good points! I ask myself the same. Most of my opponents have this deep defense, but I usually don't have it myself. I can not imagine that all my opponents use specific settings to achieve this sort of catenaccio. My guess is that it's because of how you play. Do you play a possession, passing style? I do and the longer I hold the ball, the deeper my opponent's defense drops back automatically. On the other hand your own defense moves up and can easily be outplayed if your opponents gets the ball and plays forward quickly. That is the reason why counterattacks are so successful in Fifa 22 - unfortunately you are getting punished for playing possession football.
  • Spillaren
    3086 posts National Call-Up
    they play 4231 with both CDMS on cover center stay back, all their CAMs on come back on defense and low dept usually
  • Stand still and you will draw defenders out to you to create space
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