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#FM 13, Shouts and Opposition Instructions

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I’ve been thinking of doing this for a while now, a blog about how to use the Shouts and OI effectively, I remember covering the basics Shouts in Detail and here. The purpose of this update is to put this information all down together and simplify how its presented. Before we begin lets establish what some of the sliders mean.


Defensive Line

Basically this is how far how defense is willing to push up from their goal to support an attack. So if you are playing a high defensive line then your defenders are further away and suspect to the through ball, or and over the top pass (OTT).  High defensive lines are common if you are chasing a game and mean that you are exerting pressure on the other team to clear their lines quick, but you are leaving yourselves vulnerable to quick attacks. And since your midfield screen is going to be in the opponents half, it means that your backline must have the pace and awareness to defend.

If you notice that your players are having to backtrack a lot and this will come up on your highlights then your defensive line is very high. Generally a containment strategy only requires that your defenders only take a few steps to receive the pass, if they need to run backwards, you are not playing a containment strategy.


In real life we have only two kinds of marking Man and Zonal. Tight marking was ubiquitous with manmarking for many years. Man- Marking is a defensive strategy to mark a specific person on a pitch instead of marking a certain zone on the pitch.

It was perfected in the 60s and 70s by the great Italian sides of that era with their catenaccio formations. It quickly became popular but it didnt provide a spectacle since players who did the job of tight marking would invariably not be involved in attacking plays. Its a tradition thats been slowly dying and the only real side to employ it generously was Greece in the European Championships of 2004. In fact only 1 out of the 16 sides that made the Euro Champions League quarterfinals employed manmarking. You may find it used more often in lower league football or when a clearly inferior team is up against it with a good side.

Zonal Marking is currently more popular since players are designated specific zones to cover. When a player enters a zone a specific player is then tasked with marking him. You can also mark the player tightly and when he leaves one zone and enters a new zone that player continues to be tracked. This is particularly effective against sides who use a lot of movement on the pitch and it the failure of man-marking’s handling of fluid football systems saw the rapid adoption of zonal marking. Zonal marking requires communication and teamwork to be successful.

Where zonal marking struggles is in defending set pieces and this is where man marking can be employed.

In FM2013, it isnt hard to employ either of the two systems. However I am a huge critic of specific and non specific marking in the game. The game ideally should only have specific man marking. The very notion of “non specific ” man marking makes no sense. If you are man marking a specific position on the pitch that logically should be zonal marking, since zonal marking by definition is the marking of a specific zone.

If you want to employ a form of marking that denies the opponent space in crucial areas of the pitch, just use zonal and tight marking. Zonal marking works by given specific players zones, not the whole pitch is covered of course which is why you will see players disengage and moments when an opponent is “unmarked” but once the opponent enters the ‘danger zone” of another he gets marked. How early this happens is a function of your defensive line, closing down and whether you have tight marking on.

If your defensive line is too high chances are he would already be leaving players zones really fast, since the workable area to defend is smaller. A high defensive line compresses space on a pitch and means that your fullbacks, defenders and DMCs see a lot more work. So setting closing down instructions that are too high will displace your formations and leave vulnerable holes. To counter this what I always do is identify the threats that come from the OI and thats how i employ marking.

I do not employ any man marking, all i do is zonal and tight marking. Since I want to compress the allowable space and to get my players to engage and shut down the opposing sides passing patterns early, I opt to TM their wingers and ball crossers. If its a 442 formation I normally opt to use the Opposition Instructions to close down their fullbacks and TM their wingers.

Any formation that has an outright flanking attack can be shut down using OI. The instructions you have at your disposal include Player Specific and Position Specific Instructions:

  1. Tight Marking
  2. Closing Down
  3. Tackling
  4. Show Onto Foot

If I am faced with a side that is playing with fullbacks and wingers, I know that by shutting the flanks down I give myself a lot more options TM, Closing down and Show Onto foot can all be used. My AI Manager is using a 41212 narrow so I set things up by closing down Keeper, and fullbacks and TMin the AMC and Closing down the DMC. By doing so i shut down its wings and its centre. So thats my overall plan, how well I execute it is going to be done via shouts and my formation. Both sides are fairly evenly matched in my example.

So lets assume you are facing a a narrow 41212 formation and you are playing a wide 41221 formation.  Your immediate concern when you go into the match should be the middle of your park, since the AI Manager is using a DMC and an AMC, its most likely going to exploit the middle. I am also playing away in this example and up against a team that is on par with me. So to set things up I will head in with a standard strategy but I will attempt to control space in the middle

You have several options, personally I would then look at my shouts and divide them up into several categories:

  • Defending Shouts: Retain Possession, Clear Ball to Flanks
  • Controlling Shouts: Pass to feet, Play out of defense, Work ball into box
  • Attacking Shouts: Pass to Space, Pump Ball into Box, Hit early cross, Run at defense, play through defense
  • Desperation Shouts: Get Ball forward, Shoot on sight
  • Space & Aggression: Play Wider, Narrower, Higher, Deeper, Stay on Feet, Stand off , Get stuck in

I hardly every use Hassle Opponents, its a good shout but it effectively affects tight marking, closing down and your defensive line, for me personally thats too dangeous, I like to control things a lot more which is why I tend to start all matches Play out of defense and Work ball into box. In this scenario I am playing standard so I will push higher and go narrower since I also want to exploit the middle as the AI does it at the same time. Essentially I am locking down the flanks and going toe to toe with the AI in the middle of the park.

Essentially thats one way you can combine all the shouts into a kind of package, to do so would require you at least understand what all the shouts do. So before you go an click every shout, at least go read the manual or cleons notes on shouts.




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About BusttheNet - Rashidi (177 Articles)
Rashidi is an mod from the SI forums who began this site as a way to collate all the information and guides he's written for Football Manager over the years.

2 Comments on #FM 13, Shouts and Opposition Instructions

  1. Great post! Following you now for a week and you’ve got some insane stuff here :D. Keep going! Sometimes its hard for me to understand, because English is not my mother language. One question: Do you have a subscribers button or somewhere where I can insert my e-mail. I just want to follow you and if you have a new blog post I want to be updated on my mailbox.

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