Core Styles

A core style is a component playing style that relates to the overall use of a small number of complementary playing methods that include both complementary attacking and complementary defensive methods.

The main core styles are:

Each of the main core styles is summarised below, with details of the following:

The extent to which it is appropriate for a team to implement each of the listed style-defining methods (including the key primary and secondary methods) depends on player suitability, the overall tactical risk level desired by the team's manager and the preferences of the team’s manager.

Offensive Football

Offensive football is based on using a high risk mentality in order to create space and restrict space in more advanced areas with a high level of attacking pressure and defensive pressure. This is typically complemented to some extent with wide positioning to stretch play and so enable space to be created more easily in advanced areas that become more congested as a result, along with high tempo play and closing down to further increase attacking and defensive pressure, and a high line to complete a high defensive block.

Key Primary Methods

Key Secondary Methods

Other Suitable Style-Defining Methods

These higher risk playing methods naturally complement offensive football but they are typically used in moderation to avoid excessively high overall attacking and defensive risk levels.

Typical Tactical Structures

Responsibility Distribution

Typical Passing Range System

Tactical Risk

Offensive football involves taking on a high overall level of attacking risk and defensive risk by focusing more on penetrating space and restricting space. Attacking risk can be balanced to some extent by combining it with short play attacking and defensive risk can be balanced to some extent by combining it with containment defending.

Player Suitability

Counter Attacking Football

Counter attacking football is based on using a low risk mentality in order to create space in more advanced areas by drawing players forward into deeper areas, and also to protect space in deeper areas. This is typically complemented to some extent with narrow positioning and low tempo play to keep possession in deeper areas more easily, along with sitting off to further draw players forward and protect space, and a deep line to complete a low defensive block. Penetration typically takes place during breaks.

The concept of counter attacking (rather than the counter attacking football playing style) is explained in the Phases of Play guide.

Key Primary Methods

Key Secondary Methods

Other Suitable Style-Defining Methods

These lower risk playing methods naturally complement counter attacking football but they are typically used in moderation to avoid excessively low overall attacking and defensive risk levels.

Typical Tactical Structures

Responsibility Distribution

Typical Passing Range System

Tactical Risk

Counter attacking football involves taking on a low overall level of attacking risk and defensive risk by focusing more on keeping possession, retaining solidity, protecting space and retaining compactness. Attacking risk can be balanced to some extent by combining it with direct play attacking and defensive risk can be balanced to some extent by combining it with pressing defending.

Player Suitability