FIFA 21 Defending Tips

FIFA 21 Defending

Proper defending is crucial when playing a FIFA 21 match especially in online matches. Here in this article, we will review some defending techniques and tutorials which will help you to improve your defending skills at FIFA 21 game.

Get Familiar with the Controls

To be good at defending, you get to be familiar with controls in FIFA 21. Below is the list of essential defending controls you need to know when playing FIFA 21:


Action PlayStation Controls Xbox Controls
Change Player L1 LB
Switch Player (Manual) R + Direction R + Direction
Tackle/Push or Pull (when chasing) B
Hard Tackle ◯ Press and Hold B Press and Hold
Instant Hard Tackle R1 + ◯ RB + ◯
Sliding Tackle X
Hard Tackle (VOLTA FOOTBALL only) X
Clearance B
Shoulder Challenge/Sealout L2 Tap LT Tap
Jockey/Grab & hold L2 Hold Down LT Hold Down
Contain X Press and Hold A Press and Hold
Teammate Contain R1 Press and Hold RB Press and Hold
Running Jockey L2 + R2 Hold Down LT + RT Hold Down
Pull and Hold (when chasing) ◯ Press and Hold B Press and Hold
Quick Get Up (after slide tackle) X
Engage Shielding Opponent L2 + L Towards Shielding Dribbler LT + L Towards Shielding Dribbler
Rush Goalkeeper Out △ Press and Hold Y Press and Hold
Goalkeeper Cross Intercept △ + △ Press and Hold Y + Y Press and Hold

Your Best Starting 11

When forming your squad, try to pick up the best defenders from your club for your Starting 11. The OVR rating of your defenders says everything about them. Don’t forget that defending (DEF), tackling, pace (PAC) and heading (HEA), physical (PHY) are the key traits for a defender. Choose four or five of your best defenders with the highest rating for your defending line, as for your CB positions, it would be better to choose defenders with better heading and tackling ratings. As for LB/RB, go for defenders with better pace and tackling.

Take note that your midfielders also could help your defenders. So, choosing midfielders with high DEF stat will improve your defensive skills. Having a few Defensive Midfielders (CDM) in your starting eleven could be a good idea. If you don’t want to have them in your Starting 11, it won’t be bad to keep them on your bench to use them when needed.

You can see the complete list of FIFA 21 defenders sorted by their OVR rating here:

Your Best Formation

It really matters how many defenders you have in your defensive line, but what matters more is how you are going to manage your defence when your opponent is attacking your goal. You need to engage not only your defenders but all of your players to prevent receiving goals. Even your strikers should be helping your team on defending when when necessary. This means you need to go for a formation that makes YOU comfortable to block your opponent’s attacks.

4-1-3-2, 4-3-1-2 or 5-3-2 are suggested as defensive formations as these ones are more dynamic to switch between defense and attack mode. But again, you need to find YOUR best formation.

Visit the complete list of formations in FIFA 21, pay attention to the descriptions written for each formation and their counter formations. See which ones suits your team and players – specially when playing FUT.

Turn Your Weakness into a Strength

Once you built up your squad, you need to see how it works and where is your weakness. Go and play offline and online matches – As for online games, it is recommended to play unranked/friendly matches for that purpose.

Pay attentions to your weak points, take note of the ways you concede goals. Whether it is through a header from a cross, or a direct shot, the point is to recognise the holes in your defence for fixing them. Find out what causes you to receive goals, is it a simple mistake or it’s about you defending skills? Write them down and make a checklist of it so you can go through them and fix them one by one. That is a key point for improving your defensive skills.

Win Man-to-man Battles

Try to master every single man-to-man battles you would face. Block your opponent’s dribbling with short tackles, do slide tackles only when you are sure that you’re going to touch the ball not your opponent’s legs.

Being patient is important. Even when your opponent’s attackers running to your goal with more players than your defenders, you do not need to be stressed and confused. The only thing at that moment would help, is your ability to manage the situation. Give your opponent a hard time, make them confused and narrow down their choices. Remember the time is crucial and you need to buy time to ruin their attacks. Focus on man to man battles and do short tackles to the players who have the ball and block off the ball players as well.

Do jockey to get your teammates involved to the situation. Sometimes, you need to just contain other players and go yourself to a player who is off the ball but is in a better situation to score. Sometimes, you actually don’t need to do anything, remember the CPU is controlling your defenders all the time and sometimes it’s doing a better job than you would do! So if you leave them to do the defending by themselves, you might finish up with a better result!

Win the One-on-one Situations

If you happened to have a striker running on the ball towards your goal with only your goalkeeper, you should be able to manage the situation to prevent a goal. The best way to deal with such a situation is to make your opponent confused. As the attacker runs out of time (since most probably your defenders are running back to him), it would be a good solution to make him not come up with a decision. How? Maybe you can bring your goalie forward, but this method doesn’t always work, because the striker can make an easy goal by a simple cheap shot. So, the point is to make the striker unsure for what he is going to do. I usually bring my goalie halfway out to make striker confused. Most of the times it works. I bring the keeper off the line, but not very far from the goal post, so my opponent thinks that I’m gonna bring him all the way to go to his legs, so he makes a choice by either having a strong shot or a cheap shot – which usually neither of them is successful as my goalie isn’t far from the goal.

Comments (4)

4 thoughts on “FIFA 21 Defending Tips

  1. For the 1st time since I started playing PlayStation at a Legendary level I have never conceded 5 goals plus, in a single game until I played FIFA 21 and discovered that the defending is based on Manual, its really giving me a problem, I need to learn to how defend properly

  2. Keep shipping goals playing Fifa 21 in World Class mode on X Box 1 can I have detailed advice on what I’m doing wrong and what I should be doing
    Thanks Steve Mortimore

Post Your Comments