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Best Preferred Moves For Defenders Football Manager


What Are The Best Preferred Moves For Defenders Football Manager?

I have previously written articles on what are the best preferred moves for a striker and a guide on how to pick preferred moves for your players. In this article we will be focusing on Player Preferred Moves (PPMs) for defenders. I will be focusing more on centerbacks and defensive fullbacks.

Before we get into this article, I want to stress the importance that PPMs can have on your tactics. I recently had a player, who I had picked to by my deep lying play maker, he had all the good attributes to play in this position. I had decided that I wanted him to sit in front of the back 4 and recycle possession from deep.

Watching him on the match engine though I noticed he kept drifting away from my defenders and was higher up the pitch than I wanted him to be. Checking out the player in more detail I had noticed he had a PPM of "gets forward whenever possible", as the name of this suggests he was not too worried about holding his position in front of the defenders, he was looking for move forward.

What did this mean for my tactics?

I needed to change how I used this player, he was a good all round player and could score a goal also, so with his PPM of "gets forward whenever possible" I moved him to a central midfield role on the attack duty. This suited the player more and it also meant that the player I then got to play in the DLP role kept his shape and was sitting in front of my defenders, like I wanted him to.

I am going to bullet point some example PPMs for defenders. It is virtually impossible for me to come up with every single PPM for every defender, as most peoples tactics will be different.

Alot of people will want their defenders to keep things simple and to not do anything fancy. I will bulletpoint a few PPMs and how they could benefit your defenders and tactics.

  • Runs with ball rarely - you do get some defenders, like David Luiz, who will bring the ball out of defence. This can be good in some instances, but for most central defenders you will not want them running with the ball. If you do give your central defenders the PPM of "runs with the ball rarely", consider giving him a player instruction of "dribbles less".
  • Stays back at all times - I like this PPM for central defenders, it will often be a good idea for your defenders to hold their shape when your team is attacking, this will mean you wont get caught on the counter attack if your team loses the ball. It would be a good idea for your player to have a player instruction of "hold position" and if you are able to make your team mentality more structured, this could help also.
  • Plays short simple passes - this is probably my favourite PPM for central defenders. I only want my central defenders to pick up the ball and pass it to a more creative midfielder, so the plays short simple passes PPM works well for this. Its important to also give your central defenders player instructions of "less risky passes" and "shorter passing". Depending on if it suits your tactics you can also add on the team instructions of "play out of defence", "retain possession" and "shorter passing". Potentially the "play out of defence" is the only one I would pick out of all of these.
  • Dives into tackles/does not dive into tackles - I am fairly undecided on both of these PPMs and often I will un-train and defenders who have either of these PPMs (I think its better for the player to make up his own mind on how best to tackle). If you do have a player diving into a tackle, if he misses the ball, then he is going to lose the player he went to tackle. If he does not dive into tackles, then he will keep his positioning, but he might not put enough pressure on the attacker. I am of the opinion its best to let the defender pick what he wants to do.
  • Marks opponent tightly - for this PPM, you need to have a player who is good at marking, has good positioning, strength, anticipation and decision making. You basically need to have a good defender to be able to use this PPM effectively. If you do use this PPM, you need to make sure your defender can cope with most attackers, it could be a bad thing if your defender is up against an attacker who has a PPM of "comes deep to get the ball", you might see that your defender follows him and that might leave a gap in your defence. You are able to pick opposition instructions and pick to mark a particular player tighter, this might be a better thing to do, rather than relying on the PPM of "marks opponent tightly".

In all cases for what PPMs your players have, you need to think about how your tactics are set up and how you want your team to play. There are alot of contrasting team and player instructions that will end up doing the opposite of what your player would prefer to do. If you look at the player roles for particular positions, the description of the role can often tell you what PPMs to give a player.