Sunday, 07 June 2020

Pro Evo Network Masterclass - Concept 1

Written by Jazfiction

From the pitch to pixel - Taking real life football concepts into PES. 

Welcome to a new series or articles looking at real-life football philosophies, concepts and modern coaching ideas and whether they transfer well into PES. Immediately on playing a new version of PES I always play against the CPU first. Konami always shows you how to play the new version. This year more than any I noticed immediately that the defences were organised. It was so easy to get into the bad habit of playing the ball from one wing to the other in a ‘U’ shape looking for a gap. Konami had placed in the risk/reward of disrupting the defence and creating spaces.

So maybe more than any other football philosophy that is transferred from real football to PES, the concept of “Move the opponent not the ball” seems to be threaded through PES 2020. Maybe it came out of the meeting with Andreas Iniesta, along with double-touch being so effective this year, or maybe it is a long lost remnant from Seabass era PES. Either way as a concept I noticed it more than previous years and understanding it is certainly one of the best ways to unlock defences in PES 2020. 

“Move the opponent not the ball” can be simply explained as; We pass, not to pass to our teammate, but to move an opponent to create space. It can be applied across all styles, including counter-attacks, as it is a flexible concept that is situational not a sequence of set movements.

The truth is, a lot of managers on PEN will be doing this already either consciously or unconsciously, I see it in Ratio games. We’ve been playing PES 2020 long enough now that we know it is difficult to create chances unless you create space. I find that if I just play, it will happen naturally occasionally, but not in an effective way. However, when I play with it mind, I see better options, see better A.I. Runs and make better decisions.


Which football concept fits this philosophy?

How do we ‘Move the opponent not the ball’? What concepts can we use to take advantage of it? There are lots of concepts to move opponents to create space. Third-man runs, Tiki-taka short passing to attract opponents to one space to create space elsewhere, False 9 to draw defenders out, even the simple (and much-maligned in PES) 1-2 pass. 

However, I want to focus on one I don't see too much when playing other players, I want to focus on it because it communicates clearly how it is the space that is important. The concept is called Up, back and through. It is a very simple but effective passing sequence that includes, a player dropping deep (like a false 9) and a third man run (usually in behind).


Up, back and through


The ‘UP’ pass penetrates the defensive lines of the opposition, however it is to a player (ST) with their back to goal. Instead of trying to turn, the player should lay the ball back to a player facing the whole of the pitch with a good body profile.



The player on the ball (CAM) can see the whole pitch, has an open body profile, and is deep enough to not be pressured by the defence. As the ball is played ‘BACK’  this should be a trigger for supporting players to make runs into space.



The wide player (LWF) has seen the space and reacted quick enough to be able to use their momentum to get to the ’THROUGH’ pass before any defender can react. We are now in a dangerous Assist zone, and we have the defence facing their own goal and scrambling to cover space in behind.


How to create this in PES?

The ‘Up’ part
In my experience the longer the distance the more effective this pass is. I think this is because the defence is deeper and more space to lay it off. So as long as the striker isn’t isolated you can play this pass from a distance.

The ‘Back’ part
While ‘Back’ is the term used in coaching, as that is the perfect way to attract defenders out of their positions, the pass could also be could be a lay-off to either side. The extra effectiveness of it going ‘Back’ is because it attracts defenders forward and leaves space in behind for the ‘Through’ pass.

The ‘Through’ part
The first parts (Up and Back) are quite easy, the difficulty in PES is doing it in the right place to cause the A.I. to make the run for the ‘Through’ part of the move. If you are finding that ‘Through’ part isn’t happening, it is because you didn’t create the space for the target player. So when you play the 'Up' and the 'Back' try to attract a defender, this will move him out of position, draw them towards the ball and leave space behind for the run.


Key tip
“Let go of the RUN button!’

I have to remind myself about once a week to stop holding run, muscle memory from the past,  you have to remember the running in an ‘Up, back and through’ or many other concepts are done by the player off the ball not the player on it. In my first video example, you’ll see I almost mess it up by holding run after the ‘Back’ pass.



I think this concept translates pretty well into PES, yes its had getting the third man to make thee correct run, but if you have created the space they will do it more often than not.

I haven’t shown how to set up specific attacking instructions, or general play settings or player types because it really is a concept that can apply to all styles.  Formations and shapes can help but it can be applied in most situations if you are looking for it. 

This is the key, not to go looking for it, but to spot it when the opportunity is there.

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