Football journalist and FIFA fan Darren Cross looks at different ways to use an ultra-attacking mentality effectively against online opponents in FIFA 14.
Switching your team’s mentality to ultra attacking is a bold move when playing FIFA 14 online, but one that can really swing a game in your favour if you know how to take advantage of its strengths and counter its weaknesses.
As well as being an effective tactic when used at the right time, it’s also a very exciting, challenging way to play. There’s a real sense of risk verses reward as you look to take advantage of your extra numbers in attack while concentrating on avoiding even the smallest mistake at the back.
In this week’s Backpage we’ll look at how selecting an ultra-attacking mentality affects your team shape and approach, what you can do to maintain a solid defence and how you can use it to score more goals, relieve pressure or rescue a match you’re losing.
What Ultra Attacking Does
When you hit that D-Pad to the right three times you instantly commit more players to attack, most noticeably the full-backs. With ultra attacking selected you’ll see them making forward runs from deep positions and generally trying to join in, so if you’re using a team with fast full-backs that have good dribbling and crossing skills, you should find the tactic especially effective.
Having the full-backs play further up the pitch like this can make it easier for you to keep the ball in the opponent’s half of the pitch, because you have more passing options, but on the flip side it obviously leaves more space behind for the opposition to counter into should they win the ball back.
Risk verses reward.
As well as encouraging your full-backs to get forward, you should also notice your centre-mids getting more involved with attacks in advanced positions. Even the centre-backs seem to operate a bit further up the pitch, closer to the other team’s strikers, and this again makes it easier to move the ball in the opponent’s half while also helping to keep the pressure on when you don’t have possession. For example, with ultra attacking selected I seem to win a lot more of my opponent’s goal kicks, taking possession quickly and maintaining attacking pressure.
Long periods of attacking pressure are really what you’re aiming for when using an ultra-attacking mentality. If you can keep the ball and consistently launch attacks without letting your opponent out of their own half, sooner or later you’re almost certainly going to score.
The risky part here is that, when the opposition do have the ball with time to set up a counter, there’s likely to be a lot of space behind your defence for a quick striker to run into – especially if one of your centre-backs has missed a tackle or been turned high up the pitch. To combat this, when a counter attack looks to be on I quickly select a centre-back and manually drop him a little deeper while getting a team-mate to apply pressure on the player with the ball using secondary contain – RB or R1 on your control pad.
This offers a bit of protection from the ball over the top. You can do the same with full-backs if you spot a winger about to be played into space – just manually select him using either player change or the right stick then cover the space.
Whenever you’re defending I always advise players to take no risks, and that’s especially important when playing ultra attacking because one mistake is much more likely to lead to a good scoring chance for the other team. So don’t get caught out trying to take an extra touch or going for a clever turn with defenders, clear any dangerous passes away using the shoot button then get your shape back and go again. It’s not pretty, but it works.
So that’s what an ultra-attacking mentality does. Now we’re going to look at three ways I like to use it.
To Win The Game Early
Although I talk a lot about defending here in the Backpage, I’m actually a very attack-minded player and almost always look to take the game to my opponents right from kick-off. Often I’ll start with the attacking mentality selected – twice right on the D-Pad – and if it looks like I’m going to be able to find space and create chances or – even better – I get an early goal, I’ll switch to ultra attacking inside the first ten in-game minutes.
Scoring a couple of early goals makes a big difference in any game of football as your opponent must decide whether to play more defensively to stop you scoring again, inviting more pressure, or go on the attack themselves, which could lead to even more gaps in their defence.
The risk here is that if it doesn’t go to plan and you concede the first goal or two while using ultra attacking, you’re the player who must decide whether to press on and risk conceding even more in an effort to get back into the game, or abandon your attacking game plan for something more cautious.
Personally, I’m not really one for damage limitation when playing FIFA 14 – I’d rather take my chances and go for it. Like I said earlier, an attacking mentality makes for very exciting games either way!
Usually though, I find I get the rewards for being the more attacking player.
To Relieve Pressure
Sometimes I’ll play a match where I seem to face wave after wave of relentless attacks from my opponent. I mentioned earlier that a sustained period of attack will usually lead to goals in the end, so the instinctive thing to do here is concentrate on defending properly and riding the storm.
Often though, I do the opposite.
Instead of sitting back and inviting more pressure, I switch to an ultra-attacking mentality as soon as I get the ball and try to give my opponent something to think about defensively. The risk with this tactic is that you end up in a ‘you score, we score’ situation if the other player doesn’t react by dropping back, but more often than not I find that getting extra players forward helps me hold the ball in the attacking half for longer, giving me a breather at the back while also hopefully encouraging my opponent to play a bit more defensively.
It’s a good, unexpected strategy that’s worked well for me many times.
To Save The Game
Talking of tactics that have worked well for me, I’ve lost count of the number of times a switch to an ultra-attacking mentality has helped me rescue a match I would otherwise have lost. It’s also one of the less risky times to go for an all-out attack approach, because if you’re already behind with little time left then there isn’t really anything to lose by going for it.
My tip with this one is to know when to switch back to a more balanced mentality. I’ve had games where I’ve made a great comeback and stuck with ultra attacking even after getting back to a winning position, only to concede a goal on the counter and end up losing on penalties. Although it’s tempting to keep pushing for another goal when you’ve already scored two or three in quick succession, sometimes the best thing to do is hold your defensive shape and see the game out.
So they’re my tips for playing all-out attack. If you have any extra tips for using an ultra-attacking mentality then please share them with other FIFA 14 players by commenting below or tweeting @darren_cross
As always, thanks very much for reading.