Even though I knew this was my problem, I fought to break the habit, and that I knew I had to practice at protecting. I started to see some great YouTube content that explained what I need to be doing in certain situations, and while everything I learned made practical sense in terms of real-world soccer tactics, when I started to apply that at FIFA 21 matches I saw enormous improvements to my sport.
For example, I mentioned earlier that I elected to get a 4-4-2 formation with two holding midfielders, but I would often let my enemies pass through them; once I started really using them to block away passing lanes and force them to venture out broad, I stopped getting carved up so readily. Make no mistake, I had been conceding a lot of goals even against the computer, but suddenly I managed to retain my defensive lineup at least see some improvements.
I started to gradually dial up the problem in Squad Battles into World Class, and I was beginning to get clean sheets. I learned how to defend one-on-one scenarios, by forcing forward outside and at least limit them to low percentage shots at the near post. These were skills that I knew I would have to use online, where the standard of play is generally much greater. I managed to get a 0-0 from an 88-rated squad with decent chemistry World Class difficulty, and that I understood this was a breakthrough.
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