Pressing

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INTERWIKI

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Tactics
Pressing
Counter-attacks
Attack in the middle
Attack on wings
Play creatively
Long shots

Pressing (also PR or Press) tactic means that all of your players try to put pressure on their opponents so they put slightly more effort into breaking up your opponent's attacks than trying to create their own.
The result is that generally the total number of potential chances in the game gets reduced for both teams. Special events are not affected, nor the frequency of injuries.
Whenever a potential chance is foiled by a team using the Press tactic it is reported in the match report, but you will never find out which team could have benefited from the chance.

Effectiveness

Pressing could be a good option when want to keep the score down, but, as any other tactic, works best when is long term prepared. Many teams play PR in a desperate strike to avoid losing a game (see PPP strategy below), even if they lack the appropriate players (i.e. Powerful, high skilled defenders, with enough stamina... your players need stamina).

With the exception of the goalkeeper, each player's ability to defend and stay fit determines the tactic level.
The table below shows the combination of tactical level, number of foiled chances and probability.

Tactical level and number of foiled chances
Level N° of foiled chances Average
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Wretched (2) 98%   2%    -    -    -    -    - 0.1
Poor (3) 63% 31%   5%   1%    -    -    - 0.4
Weak (4) 33% 45% 18%   3%   1%   >1%    - 0.8
Inadequate (5) 25% 38% 25%   8%   3%   1%    - 1.2
Passable (6) 15% 33% 33% 15%   3%   1%   >1% 1.5
Solid (7)   5% 33% 38% 18%   5%   1%   >1% 1.8
Excellent (8)   1% 18% 25% 33% 18%   5%   >1% 2.1
Formidable (9)   1% ? ? 38% ? ? ? 2.3
Outstanding (10)   >1% ? ? ? 33% ? ? 2.5


It is perfectly possible for both teams to play pressing tactic. The effect on reducing the number of potential chances is cumulative and on average, the number of lost opportunities is doubled.

Benefits and drawbacks

Loss of effectiveness
Match time % efficiency
Kick off
(0 minutes)
100%
Half time
(after 45')
97.48
Full time
(after 90')
88.57
Extra time
(after 120')
70.54

The advantage in a match is that you can reduce the number of potential chances of your opponent. Another advantage is that a pressing team has a chance of preventing a long shot opportunity, when playing against a team focusing on long shots.
But there are disadvantage. First of all, keep in mind that the defensive strategy is not well received by fans; they prefer a team that loses 2-5 to a team that loses 0-1!
This tactics can also foils your own chances as well, and if you have the strongest midfield there is a high probability that the chance foiled was yours. Besides, PR will drain the stamina of your players faster than normal and when stamina decreases faster than usual you lose primarily the midfield rating; use pressing when your midfielders have good stamina, otherwise you will lose possession in second half, granting your opponent more attacks than they would have if you played normal. Lastly, special events can not be foiled as normal chances.

Counters

Strong midfield and strong attack can easily beat a pressing team: to overcome the pressing tactic it is very important a strong midfield to create enough chances, and an even stronger attack because a pressing team usually have very strong defenses.
A team optimized for play creatively tactic is slightly advantaged because special event are not foiled as normal chances are.

Players

PR tactical level is determine by the average defending skill of all your outfield players and by average stamina of all your outfield (remember that they all contribute to tactic level). So, the things that greatly increase your chances of successfully reducing the number of attacks in the game are:

  • the total defending skill (you need a lot of defensively strong players on the field),
  • the total stamina of all your outfield players (the more tired your players get, the less able they are to put pressure on their opponents),
  • the player's experience (counts a little less than the other two).

When calculating this PR level, the experience bonus is added for each outfield player, as normal.
As always, a player with excellent stamina, or better, has enough stamina to avoid skills' degrading during the game, at least not out of tiredness.
Forwards are not very necessary, since every player on field contributes to tactic level with defense skill. So better use defensive midfielders instead.

Specialty

If a player has the "Powerful" specialty, his defense skill counts as double for this calculation. Anyway PR may affect your chances to score too, so better count on special events when playing it. All your player should have a specialty when using this tactic.
For example, you can outfield the classic 5 powerful defenders (or 2 header wing backs), 3 header midfilders and quick and/or unpredictable wingers.

Lineup

Lineups with 4 or 5 defenders are the best. 5-5-0 is the classic. Alternatively, you can use a striker in 4-5-1, usually a midfield player with a defensive instructions.

Training

Any, but train your defenders may be a good idea.

Press-PiC-Pray

PPP is a precise strategy to choose when

  1. P = you want to take away your opponent's actions = Pressing,
  2. P = you feel inferior and you want to close your team in defense (i.e. with a 4-5-1) = Play it Cool,
  3. P = you are worse than the opponent in any case, but he/she has a not so good attack = Pray.

It is an average losing strategy, but why not try to unleash the HTRF?