Explained: Play Out of Defence In Football Manager

When coming up with a new tactic in FM, you might have had the idea of building play from the back rather than clearing it long, which can easily lead to a turnover in possession, hampering your chances of success.

Resorting to the team instruction Play out of Defence seems like an effective solution, which it is in most cases, however knowing how to implement it in your tactic so that you can get the most of it is not straightforward.

Football manager describes Play out of Defence as a team instruction that encourages defenders to pass their way out from the back rather than clear the ball long.

Before asking your defenders to pass their way out from the back, you first have to take a look at their attributes and player traits.

Play out of defence in football manager

Those with poor ratings in passing, first touch, vision and technique will more than likely cause you more harm than good when implementing a tactic that starts play from the back.

They will crumble at the earliest signs of pressure from the opposition, leading to your team giving up easy goals as a result of your central defenders or fullbacks losing possession easily, leaving your goalkeeper stranded and helpless.

This makes the Play out of Defence team instruction suit big clubs with high-quality players across the entire team, or if you are trying it in a lower league, your players on average should have superior passing stats than most opposition you will be facing.

There is also the matter of player traits. Defenders with player traits such as “brings ball out of defence” and “tries to play out of trouble” will more naturally suit tactics that ask them to play out of defence.

However, despite the players having those desired player traits, how successful they will be in playing out of defence or bringing the ball out of defence will depend on their player attributes.

The player traits might end up being a net negative if the player in question has poor attributes which would lead him to time and again try something he can not effectively do, putting your team at a massive disadvantage.

In such a case, it will be beneficial for both your team and the player if you ask one of your coaches to aid the player in getting rid of the player trait that does not suit him.

This does not have a 100% success rate, but it is necessary if the player traits are costing your team cheap goals.

The success of the team instruction Play out of Defence will also hinge on the player roles you choose for your back four or back three.

Roles like No Nonsense Centre Back and No Nonsense full back will not work well with Play out of Defence as they are quite rigid and players in these roles would rather kick the ball upfield away from immediate danger.

On the other extreme side, the ball playing defenders like to try long-range passes to the forward players, so depending on your tactic, this role might go against the Play out of Defence instruction. 

The right balance is choosing the central defender role for your central defence positions and then having fullbacks, wing-backs, inverted wing backs or the complete wing backs on the sides. 

The central defender gives you the flexibility to tweak his player instructions according to how you would want him to behave when in possession of the ball.

For more on the differences between the central defenders and ball playing defenders, check out our article here.

Finally, once you have sorted out the shape of your backline, having your goalkeeper in a goalkeeper defend role is important to prevent him from trying long balls of his own, which defeats the purpose of the Play out of Defence team instruction.