eFootball PES 2020: Understanding Manager Tactics in PES with Tips

eFootball PES 2020 has many in-game information and items that have an important role in the game. Be it Playing Styles, the Formations and Tactics, Skill Moves of players, or Datapack upgrades. The uniqueness of the game is in these items adding up to a large change in bringing realism to football. These are for knowing how a game of football is influenced due to the inclusion of such items. Similarly, Manager tactics in PES play an important role in the game.

Each manager in real life has his own tactic set, which might differ game-to-game. Implementation of the same is in PES 2020 as well. So, in this article, we have explained all the Manager Tactics in PES 2020 which will help you to choose the right manager for your MyClub matches.

How are Manager Tactics influential in PES 2020?

Z. Zidane in PES 2020

PES 2020 deals with realistic portrayals of match modes which starts with giving playstyles to players and then further updating real-life formations and tactics of managers on the basis of their recent matches. This helps the users to try out new players and managers throughout. Therefore, changes in formations will help players to adapt to different and new Manager Tactics in PES. These are important and have to be considered. The behavior of your player on the pitch is also of an influence due to the tactic he is playing with, along with familiarity. For instance, a player who is having a Possession playing style will work better with a Possession Play Manager.

Manager Tactics in PES 2020 are surprisingly not considered by most of the players while choosing a manager. Even if some prefer either of the Possession or Counter-Attacking managers, the other aspects are left out. In conclusion, this is a bad idea; your players should adapt to a certain tactic that is particularly set for them. Forming a high rated team that doesn’t fit into the manager’s tactics isn’t going to be helpful throughout the course of the game.

Manager Tactics in PES 2020 Explained

Adaptability and Familiarity: Aspects of choosing managers

If you don’t consider Adaptability as important as other Manager Tactics in PES 2020, better do from now on. It is the scale of how quickly the players adapt to the manager’s tactics and how quickly the team spirit rises. If you see carefully, Managers with a higher Management rating have better Adaptability. So, it is always good to choose Managers with balanced adaptability and skill stats.

If you consider familiarity, it is the current familiarity level of the managers with the players. To avoid confusion, Adaptability and Familiarity are not the same but are related.

A manager will reach his maximum familiarity faster if he has good Adaptability. For example, if Manager A has 80 and Manager B has 90 adaptabilities with the same or less Familiarity, then Manager B will reach the maximum familiarity faster than the former.

Attacking Styles

This is the offensive tactic, how you would like to play your football. Ball holding, penetrating spaces, creating chances, direct plays, etc. come under Attacking Styles. This is only applicable when your team is in possession. There are two Attacking styles among the Manager Tactics in PES 2020: Possession Game and Counter Attack style of Football.

Possession Game

Manager Tactics in PES 2020
Possession Game Manager Tactics in PES 2020

One of the common styles that managers adapt to is Possession football. It ensures the squad holds on to the ball for maximum game time.

In PES, it is similar too, which involves a lot of passing to bring the ball upfield. The ball passing is around your midfielders, which is an important aspect and helps you to create a good number of opportunities, because of which you can adapt to a decent playstyle as well. Players look to retain possession and will exploit little spaces to start an attack. However, attacks in a possession game manager are slow starts.

Counter Attack

Manager Tactics in PES 2020
Counter Attack Manager Tactics in PES 2020

A quick transition to attack from defense while in possession is one of Counter-Attacking team’s main aspect. This is ideal for players who prefer forwards with pace (most of us do). Teams try to gain an advantage with their pace during a quick break and players off the ball.

The forwards would stay near the halfway line, play near the last line of the opponent defense. Retaining possession would ask them to exploit spaces given by the opponent and have a quick break. This is highly advisable to follow against teams with a high defensive line and teams with slower defenders. So, this Manager tactic would follow quick long balls or lofted passes to the forwards in a quick attack.

Build Up

Build Up is a term coined on how a team with possession will move the ball around. It is a phase in which players can have a sequence of passes (for example, Tiki-Taka from Barcelona) to reach the opposition’s attacking third or even practice few long passes to do the same thing. Both belong to Build Up play. Build Up Manager Tactics in PES involves two types: Long-Pass and Short Pass Build-Up.


Long Pass Manager Tactics in PES 2020
Long-Pass build up

This is a Build Up style that involves playing long balls to the front line. Using this has been common in PES as it has been effective for most of the players, to either take advantage of bugs or high defensive lines by the opposition. Dislike by most players for this tactic is often when facing against. Long pass has the advantage of maintaining your formation as it is, but it is risky and you can be out of possession for a long duration.


Short Pass Manager Tactics in PES 2020
Short-Pass Build Up

In a “Short pass” Build-up, you break down the opposition by out-passing them all the way up the pitch. Players keep themselves at a certain distance to create more space for passes. A short passing game helps you to maintain possession for a long time. It is also less risky in comparison to the long pass Build-Up. But in this case, players will have to move out of position to receive balls, disturbing the formation. Advisable for players who love to play Possession football.

Attacking Areas

Attacking areas are a team’s attacking shape, which includes both off the ball movement and on the ball movement. These tactical structures are preset for a formation. In PES, it involves how your players will operate when the team is having possession, the runs made by the forwards or the initiation of an attack is based on attacking areas preferred for a formation. Under Manager Tactics in PES 2020, you can have Wide or Centre focused Attacking areas.


Wide attacking area

Tactic involving your team to start attacks or make runs out wide. There are more passes to the flanks and fullbacks are more involved. Preferred tactic when you use a 4-3-3 or a 3-2-2-3 formation, where the wingers play an important role. Best suited if you play under Counter Attacking tactics, wingers/wide midfielders with good speed can involve in running down the flanks and then create/finish chances.


Centre attacking area

It is a narrowed or centrally focused approach during attacking. The game involves the central players having more of the ball and all attacks are towards the center. Normally this type of attacking movement can create overloads that can create space in other areas for other teammates to move into. But on the negative side, opponents crowd in the center of the pitch and would be difficult if there are no wide midfielders/wingers in the formation.


It refers to your player positioning on the pitch. For a certain formation, say 4-3-3, players are assigned positions where they will have to operate. Positioning holds good under both attacking and defense. In PES, this is similar, but also depending on two tactics under Positioning, it may differ from manager to manager. In PES, you can see Maintain Formation and Flexible tactic under Positioning.

Maintain Formation

Maintain Position

If you prefer your players to stay in position, setting this tactic will help. Players try to maintain the team’s formation throughout the game until you call out a player out for offensive/defensive support. This will help you to maintain a good defensive line, but it would be difficult to involve many players during an attack.


Flexible Formation

To understand this, let’s take an example. Suppose Player A moves forward during an attack, then player B will come and take his position. Holds good for defense as well. The players keep on exchanging positions to cover for teammates. This is advised to operate with your attacking midfielders and forwards because the defense might be shaky under this Manager Tactics in PES.

Defensive Styles

While Attacking Styles are defined whenever the player is in possession of the ball, the Defensive Styles are applicable off the ball. Defensive Styles under Manager Tactics in PES 2020 is the style of play whenever the team is not in possession and the opponent is attacking. Two types of Defensive styles in PES are All-Out Defense and Frontline Pressure.

All-Out Defense

All-Out Defense

Whenever you lose possession in a high offense area, where players might have been forward. There is a risk of getting hit by a Counter Attack. So, under the same circumstance, All-Out defense aids you in bringing all your players back to defend, regain their defensive line, thus reducing the risk of conceding. Your players won’t press the opponent, giving them space to venture into your half. This might sound risky, but it’s a safe bet against Counter attacks.

Frontline Pressure

Frontline Pressure
Frontline Pressure

An aggressive approach to defending, don’t confuse it with ‘Pressing’. The defensive line is ahead on the pitch, near to the touchline in this case. Unlike All-Out defense, once your team loses possession, the players will try to close down the opponent player on the ball by pressuring him. Frontline pressure is a wonderful tactic to press your opponent high on the pitch to force a mistake and win back possession.

Containment Area

This refers to the player positioning of your team to keep the opposition under control or within limits. The word ‘Containment’ is read in a defensive perspective in football, where your team will sit deep while inviting high levels of attacking pressure from the opposition team in a particular area, either by containment in Wide or Middle areas.


Wide Containment Area

In this tactic, while defending your players will cut off passing routes in the center of the pitch and will force the opponent to play balls in the wide area. This is helpful because if you have good wide midfielders who provide defensive support and defensive fullbacks. The tactic is very effective while playing against teams with a narrow formation.


Centre Containment Area

Tactic while defending where in which your players cut off passing routes to the flanks and force your opponent to attack towards the middle. Tactic useful if you have a very strong Centre-back pair along with midfielders with good defensive abilities. Effective against teams who play with a wide formation and have fewer central options to look after.

In summary, containment area wide is to push opponents wide, while containment area middle is to push or bring opponents into the middle of the pitch.


Pressing in football is a defensive tactic in order to gain back possession by trying to tackle or intercept passes and then dispossess them to start your attack. Also, a pressing tactic called as Gegenpressing invented in the 1970’s, is to press the opposition right after losing possession, i.e. to press as an organized unit the moment you transition to defense. Pressing in PES is in reference to the first defender. The team tries to dispossess the ball and immediately win it back from the opponent. Under Manager Tactics in PES 2020, it is of two types: Aggressive and Conservative Pressing.


Conservative Pressing

Teammates will adopt a more stand-off approach and provide space for the opponent to venture forward. Conservative pressuring helps you to keep your defensive shape and prevent players from rushing forward and leave the backline exposed. Tackling/Intercepting happens in your defensive area, not by moving ahead. This is also good for conserving your players’ energy levels.


Aggressive Pressing

One of the popular and highly effective tactics, Aggressive pressing is a defensive tactic. Your team will press high up the pitch towards the opposition box and force them to make mistakes, but it leaves you prone to counter-attacking. Gegenpressing is one such tactic (available on Console only under Advanced Instructions) of aggressive pressing. This is helpful if you are a goal or two down and want to press to retain possession.

Support Range

Manager Tactics in PES 2020
Support Range

A feature on PES console which determines the number of players around a teammate with the ball when in position. Under Manager tactics in PES it varies from a scale of Low to High.


Players will be closer to the ball carrier, passing options are higher and less risky. Best for Short-Pass Manager Tactics in PES.


Players are moving a distance far from the ball carrier, which makes the Long-Pass game effective.



This is a term defined for spacing between teammates. Staying compact essentially means limiting space between players and maintain short distances.


Players stay far apart from one another to cover as much of the field as possible. Best suited for wide formations.


Your players play towards the center of the field to crowd out the middle of the pitch, limiting the space available for your opponent to build up attacks in the middle. Suggested for narrow formations.

Defensive Line

Manager Tactics in PES 2020
Defensive Line

Feature on PES Console to adjust your defensive line. The defensive line can be set from a scale of Low to High.


The defensive line is situated close to the goal. However, this will not involve in winning balls high on the pitch and gives away a lot of possession.


The defensive line is near the touchline, where you can involve in winning balls high on the pitch. Vulnerable to counter attacks.

Tactical Tips

  • Try to fit your players according to the Manager tactics, for example, a player who has familiarity in Counter Attacking style of play will not fit in a Possession Game manager tactic in-game.
  • Best manager tactics in PES for offensive efficiency include:
    Counter Attacking + Flexible Positioning with Long Pass, Possession Game + Maintain Formation + Short Pass, Counter Attacking + Centre with Short Passing to name a few. These necessarily may not be the best for you.
  • If you chose a certain manager, say with Short-Pass Build Up, do not implement Long passing in your game.
  • Have a manager with both Possession Game and Counter Attacking options under his Offensive/Defensive tactic setup.
  • Best manager tactics in PES for defensive strength include:
    All-Out Defense + Aggressive Pressing, Frontline Pressure + Conservative Pressing, Frontline Pressure + Aggressive Pressing with Contain opposition center. These necessarily may not be the best for you.
  • Try changing managers if a particular Manager tactic doesn’t work out for you. Also, this will help you to adapt quickly to different formations.

Keeping all these in mind, you can build the perfect team according to your preference. We built our preferred Matchday Squads following these tactical tips. Go through our Matchday Squad Builders:

Did you find this article helpful? Read more PES Articles here. Did we miss out on any other tactic? Which is your most used manager tactic in PES for online gameplay? Let us know in the comment section below!

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Pete M

Thanks for this guide – very useful to me. You say Try to fit your players according to the Manager tactics, for example, a player who has familiarity in Counter Attacking style of play will not fit in a Possession Game manager tactic in-game I thought that you can train a player to suit the manager by increasing the familiarity. I play pesMobile with Fernando Santos as manager and most of the players I get do not match exactly his tactics. So I SIM lots of Tour matches to get the players to 100% familiarity and the Team Strength to… Read more »

Sreejit De

First of all thanks for your feedback, Pete. We are very happy to hear that our guide was useful for you. 🙂 Now coming to the question, well, you have a very good point. You can definitely train a player who is originally suited for Possession play with a Counter attacking manager, and that increases his familiarity with Counter attacking to max (99). His gameplay under that manager (say Santos) would certainly improve in that case. But he would still be less suited for the Manager(than a player who is originally suited for Counter attacking play) because that’s not his… Read more »

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