Guide: Dribble Less Or Run At Defence In Football Manager

Dribbling in football manager can be a bit of a hit-and-miss thing, especially in terms of visual quality when using the 3D view. 

However, it is indeed coded in the match engine, and finding the right players who can dribble their way out of tricky situations can be the difference between suffering another frustrating draw against the bottom-placed team or squeezing through with a one-goal win.

On the other side, you can still utilize a tactic that prioritizes moving the ball around with accurate passes rather than praying that a few creative players will shoulder the responsibility of progressing the ball into the final third, similar to Allan Saint-Maximin at Newcastle United.

In the tactics screen, football manager gives us two options, either asking our team to dribble less or to run at defence.  

You can however leave the two options blank and rely on the individual player’s roles to act as a guide as well as the attacking mentality you are using.

Dribble Less In FM

When selected, Dribble less in football manager asks your players to adopt a pass first mentality rather than dribble their way into attacking situations.

The first case scenario to consider this team instruction is when your team primarily consists of players who are not good enough in their dribbling and flair-related attributes in comparison to the rest of the league.

Dribble less and run at defence in football manager

Not asking your players to adopt a pass-first approach, in this case, will likely lead to your team, especially the wingers and creative midfielders that love to dribble to consistently lose possession cheaply which might then leave your team vulnerable on the counterattack.

The second scenario dribble less might work is when you want to pass through a packed defence that is not giving any space to your wingers or fullbacks to have some joy down the flanks.

Asking the team to dribble less here will naturally increase the number of passes in and around the box that your team is making. Couple this with work ball into box instruction, and you will have a better chance of your advanced playmaker making an incisive pass to your Raumdeuter.

You should also consider your attacking width and how it compares to your opposition’s defence set up to aid you in identifying where the space might be.

The third scenario is when you want to come up with a possession-based system that relies on teamwork rather than individual players creating their own space in the final third.

Here you would have your players make short passes relying on their technical ability to retain the ball, pass it around the pitch in search of space to exploit, and then find a killer pass or cutback to an unmarked forward or winger at the end of the move.

You can also individually ask individual players to dribble less if you do not want the effect to be felt across the team. 

This way, you’ll have your tricky wingers maintain their natural game while restricting that 35-year-old past it Segundo Volante from trying any funny business in your defensive third.

Run At Defence In FM

Run at defence in football manager asks your players to run at the opposition more than tactics allow by default.

It can be an effective tactic if you are facing a team that has poor organization at the back, which will see your team expose the opposition’s defensive line time and time again if you have the players that can effectively run with the ball.

You can also use Run at Defence in combination with Focus Play Down a Particular area in order to take advantage of an opposition player that is out of his depth or where you have superior numbers in case of a red card to the opposition.

A player out of his depth might be a young wing back who is being shoehorned into the team because of an injury crisis to the first team options. 

In this case, have your most skilful winger in the young wing back’s flank, ask the team to focus play down the same flank and encourage them to run at the defence. 

Only asking your team to run at defence, however, will not make your team have better dribbling success.

This will instead depend on your players’ dribbling, flair, acceleration, pace and agility stats.

Therefore, only use the instruction when you have players that are comfortable taking on opponents, either through dribbling past them, knocking the ball forward and accelerating past a challenge or simply dropping a shoulder and using agility to quickly change direction and skip past a defender or two.

You might find some joy using the run at defence instruction in counter-attacking systems that rely on players carrying the ball for long distances.

However, just like dribble less, I prefer asking individual players who I am confident in their dribbling abilities to carry the ball more. 

This way, you will give them the licence to express their exceptional dribbling abilities while still having the rest of the team play within the constraints of your tactical set-up.

It is important to note that just like most other team instructions, a player’s preferred traits will often override the team instruction, leading to the player resorting to what he finds natural.

A player that has the player trait Runs With Ball Rarely will not turn into Mahrez because you have asked the team to run at the defence.

Finally, if you have found this useful, you can also check out the article covering passes into space or the one covering overlaps and underlaps in football manager