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How to win in Pro Evolution Soccer 2016? Ever since I started writing my PES Expert
blog, this is the question everything revolves about. I will try and help you to learn
how to be successful on Superstar level when playing against the AI. My advices are
based on playing 9 seasons of Master league with Tenerife and Derby County on PC,
on Superstar level. Some of them are not suitable for online play or playing with your
friends, but some of them will be. But, I have to stress that the manual is the most fit
for those who play offline. I will use Xbox controller buttons to explain. So, without
further ado, let's get started.

Gamepad (Xbox and PS equivalent buttons)

How to set up a formation?

Useful controls you may not know

Tips for successfull defending

How to win more headers?

Tips for successfull attacking


How to score amazing goals?

Player skills
Xbox controller I'll be using button names from

PlayStation controller

R2 = RT
R1 = RB
L2 = LT
L1 = LB
L3 = LS
R3 = RS
This is a huge part of winning the game. Set up your formation and strategy wisely
and you're half way there.

First and foremost: use Fluid formation and watch the Team spirit at all times

High team spirit is crucial for your players to perform like they should. It rises when
the players are in their best positions and are adapt to your strategy. Also, the use of
Fluid formation is crucial for being able to defend and attack properly because it
allows you to set up formations for the situations when you have the ball, when you
don't have it and during a kick off.

You can see your Team spirit in the upper right corner of your formation

If you play Master league, team spirit rises when you play a few games with the same
strategy and players (who play those games, not the ones who sit on the bench) get
used to it.

Sometimes, you will have to deal with the lower Team spirit. Especially if you play
most of the games one way and than decide to change your strategy for one game.
Or at the beggining of your Master league campaign (I always lose a few games till
the Team spirit doesn't reach a decent number).

Which formation to choose?

There are lots of factors here so it's hard to give a simple answer. The simplest one
would be the one which fits your players best so everyone plays in the position
where their Overall rating is highest and, because of that, the Team spirit is higher.
Don't forget to turn on Fluid formation and set up all three formations for defending,
attacking and kick off.
Which strategy to choose?

Counter attack or possession game? Short or long passing? How many players in
defence and how many in the attack?

If you play Master league, you will have to decide on your primary style of play. The
more you play a certain style, the higher your Team spirit will be when playing that

Understanding the connection between defensive line, compactness and man

marking (DCM)

This is the strategy I prefer:

When in possession:
Counter attack
Attacking area: wide
Positioning: maintain formation
Long passing against more attacking teams, short passing when I'm the stronger
Support area: 7 when long passing, 5-6 when short passing
Numbers in attack: Few against stronger teams, medium against weaker ones

When out of possession:

All-out defence
Containment area: Middle
Pressuring: conservative
Defensive line: 1
Compactness: 7-10
Numbers in defence: Many most of the times, medium if playing the weakest

The important thing to know here is that defensive line, compactness and man
marking (we'll call them DCM) are interdependent in terms of defensive positioning.
They determine where your players will stand on the pitch when your opponent has
got the ball.

Defensive line can be set up from 1 (closest to your goal) to 10 (closest to centre).
But, beware if you set it up to 1, it doesn't mean it will be closer to your goal than
when you set it up to 3! What does he babble about, you wonder? This is why I say
that those three things are interdependent (DCM).

Because, compactness can also be set up from 10 (the most compact) to 1 (the least
compact). When set up to 10, the distance between your defence and attack and
between your widest players will be the smallest. When set up to 1, it will be the

The combination of defensive line and compactness determines how high your
defensive line will stand. For example, defensive line set to 1 with the compactness
set to 10 will be closer to the centre than the defensive line set to 1 and the
compactness set to 7. Let's take this further defensive line set to 3 and
compactness set to 1 will have your defensive line closer to your goal than the 1-10
This is where you have to experiment and see for yourself what suits your team and
your style of play the most.

How to set up Man marking?

I always make my players man mark the opponents, no matter who I play. I man
mark all of the opponents players who could endanger my goalkeeper. For example,
if I play a 4222 in defence (LB CB CB RB / ML DMF CMF MR / CF CF), my CB's
mark opponents central forwards. If they play with only one forward (as most of them
do), both of my CB's mark that one man. My full backs mark opponents wingers. My
best DMF marks their AMF or CMF who is their playmaker. My CMF marks their
other CMF. My ML and MR mark their full backs. Sometimes, one of my attackers
man marks their DMF, if he's a great player.

How I usually set up man marking

You have to bear in mind that not every player is successfully at man marking. Those
who have the skill called Man marking are better at it.

Also, you have to understand that man marking can make your team move up or
down the pitch, no matter your defensive line and compactness settings. They have
to stand by their players, right?

And one warning check the man marking during the game because AI can move
positions immediately after the start. I recommend turning on your players names
so you can better see where are your players when off the ball.
Manual goalkeeper control LB + RS. Your keeper will rarely stop the attacker in 1
on 1 situations. Take the matter into your own hands, you don't have much to lose.
Use A for automatic positioning, RB+A for running towards attacker and B+direction
for blocking the shot.

Manual defensive line control LS up or down the pitch when off the ball. You can
use this one to set up an offside trap if you feel up to it by pressing LS two times,
away from your goal.

Manual player change RS in the direction of the player you want to change to. I've
already written about this in the defensive tips part of the manual.

Manual player run LB + RS in the direction of the player you want to make a
forward run. I've already written about this in the attacking tips part of the manual.

Super cancel LB + LT. You can use this to cancel actions such as crossing,
passing, shooting. It's very useful.

Fake shot press X and A after that. It is THE most useful dribbling against CPU.


Playing against stronger teams

If you're up against Manchester City or Chelsea, you're going to do two things:

1) set up a more defensive formation and/or strategy then when playing against
Coventry City,
2) pick more defensive players.

a. More defensive formation and/or strategy

It's up to you to see if you can deal with the stronger opponent by just changing
strategy (and not the formation) or you have to do both. Changing strategy means
that you'll change your style of play for example from short to long ball, from
'medium' players in attack to 'few', from 'medium' players in defence to 'many'. You
can also add to this by changing formation from, for example, 4 player defence to 5
player defence by, say, removing one of the attackers and adding a defender. Or,
depending on your opponents formation, having an additional midfielder (there's no
point in having 5 defenders if your opponent plays with 1 attacker, but it does if he
plays with 3 attackers).

b. Picking more defensive and stronger players

It's not enough to choose your style of play. You must have players who can actually
perform by your ideas. For example, if you have to choose between a central
midfielder who is very skilled, but lacking in the defensive department (let's say
Gourcouff), and the destroyer (let's say De Rossi), choose more defensive and
stronger player. If you play with two central midfielders, they will both have to help to
defend. To win the battle in the middle is to win the war in PES 2016 (it sure feels like
that sometimes). The same can be applied to your wingers who will also have to help
defend, especially because strong teams always have strong full backs who need to
be stopped. In these games, try to avoid players who have weak physical attributes.

Here are some screenshots from my Master league campaigns with Tenerife and
Derby County just to show you that big teams can be played against if you just think
and learn.

Season 2018-2019, Europe league semifinals and a Premier league game

Dont run around chasing attackers

First, youll lose your stamina quickly. This will be a big problem at the end of the
game because your players will err much more. Second, it wont really get you
anywhere. It is better to wait out till the opponent makes a mistake in passing or the
chance to take the ball by sliding tackle or double tap of the A button. And, hey, if its
necessary, foul it! Every wrong sliding tackle isnt a yellow/red card these days.

The dreaded high through ball (DHTB) and how to defend it

(The black cloud slowly shadows your sight and you (do or dont) suppress the urge
to throw that motherfuc*ing gamepad to the ground and tell Konami a few chosen
words about intelligence (your defenders artificial one and theirs well ). Your wife
looks at you like youre the biggest moron in the world when you talk to the monitor
and doesnt understand how can a game frustrate you so much)

There is a solution to that and its called manual player change. You do it with RS
instead of LB. The main goal is to change the cursor to a defender who stands next
to an attacker who is about to run away from him so that his teammates could send
him a DHTB. If you do this correctly, they will not pass to him. Or will, but youll at
least stand a chance of cutting off the ball. In the same time, you can double tap X so
the rest of your players press the guy with the ball. Ive made a video to explain this

Cleaning up the ball from your half

It isn't easy to clean up the ball from your half to stop your opponents attack if your
player isn't in an ideal position (and he probably isn't if you're trying to do that). Trying
to do that with X usually end up in your opponent having a great shot opportunity
from just outside of your box.
The best way to clean the ball, from my experience, is with LB+B. That way, your
defender will automatically try to perform a high pass to your attacker. Also, don't be
afraid to head the ball back to your keeper, that's a great way of stopping the attack.

And here's the result:

ML, 4th season, 2x8 minutes matches. My best 'overall ratings' were Jordi Alba, Juan Bernat and
Jeffrey Kondogbia. I never have the likes of Neymar, Lewandowski.
To win more headers in this game, the key thing is to learn two things: how to
manually change your position and when to press and release the button.

1. How to change my position?

You can do this two ways with RT button or with 'super cancel' (RT+RB). With RT
button you will only move your player a little, but it is a lot easier to do then by using
super cancel.

2. When to press and release the button (and which one)?

I use A or Y for heading simply because you can have a limited control of the
direction of the header. To win a header, press A or Y when the ball is in midair and
release just before it falls between you and the opposing player. With A, the ball
should go to your players feet, and with Y into space in front of him (simple logic,
that's what these buttons are for).


To attack successfully in this game, your formation and strategy do not have to be
too offensive. In fact, offensive styles of play will usually result with too many
conceded goals, especially when playing against skilled opponent or on Superstar
against AI.

The ball is faster than players

The passing in PES 2016 is much more effective than before. Youll finally be able to
create a good passing game. Maybe even try to play like Barcelona and perform 380
passes before acting on it. This is especially effective while you attack through the
flanks. Your team will benefit greatly from the cooperation of your winger and full
back. Use one-two passes (LB+A) to earn yourself crosses or shooting opportunities
for your forwards. Rather than sprinting with one player, utilize two or three of them to
create a chance for your attackers. Not everyone can dribble like Messi, especially
when you play on Superstar against CPU. The ball is faster than the players.

Learn the manual through ball

Personally, I use assisted passing with the least amount of assist. I also use the
manual through ball for some through balls (LT+Y). Youve probably noticed that
sometimes, through balls are passed just a bit too close to a defender so hes able to
pick it up before your attacker does. This usually happens when youre on a counter
attack, your passer has got so much space in front of him to pass the ball correctly,
And yet, he fails. This usually happens when you play stronger teams than yourself,
who leave more space behind their defence. You want to counter attack them, but
your passer always seems to pass it too close to their strong centre backs. Rather
than doing the usual through ball, try using the manual one the ball will end up in
space where your fast attacker will get to it before the centre backs do (if you did it
right). Warning it's not easy.

High balls have to be timed perfectly

Unlike PES 2015, where high through balls were too powerful, in this edition of PES
youll find that now they have to be performed with a better timing. When your
attacker starts running in space, follow where he is and pass the ball when hes
almost offside. If the defender is closer to the goalkeeper than the attacker, hell
probably cut it off. You can also start practicing manual high through balls, which are
much harder to perform than the low manual through balls (because you have to
press three buttons at once). I don't use them, but hey, no one stops you from trying
to learn them. There's a lot of people who do (and I admire them).

Manually force your off the ball player to run

This is very important! You can do this with LB+RS moved to the direction of the
player you want to make the forward run. A blue triangle will appear above the player
youve just told to run in space. It is very useful because, sometimes, attackers will
just stand there like statues. You can also use it to tell your full backs to overlap with
your winger, especially when you have your number of players to join attack set to
few so he won't do that automatically. Just make sure not to let them wander into
offside. Here's the video tutorial:

Dont overuse the sprint button

It just wont get you anywhere. Of course, when theres a lot of space in front of your
player, use the sprint button to win it. But, dont sprint unnecessary when all of the
CPU players are behind the ball. Youll probably lose it and tire your players more
quickly. This doesnt sound like much, but the tired player is slower, loses the ball
much more easily, makes passing errors Rather than running with it, pass it, try
playing one-two passes

Learn how to shoot correctly and think about your players stronger foot

I think shooting isnt hard to learn in this game. In 1-on-1 situations, its pretty easy to
score. And yet, its great if you master the placed and lob shots, to give you more
options in front of the goal. And, of course, bear in mind that most of your players will
shoot better with their stronger foot, so make sure you know are they lefties or
righties and how good are they with their weaker foot. If their weak foot frequency is
low, you wont be trying placing shots with their weaker foot from afar (this also
applies to passing and crossing).
You can find your players details by pressing Y

If you can't score, make an adjustment in your formation or strategy

Even the smallest adjustments in your formation or strategy can completely turn the
games around. Moving your CMF up the pitch and making him AMF or swapping
your high and slow CF for fast and agile AMF/SS can make a big difference.
Likewise, if you can't seem to break your opponent with counter attacks, use
possession game. If your long passes are easily cut off, use short ones.

Remember that its only a game and you should enjoy it

Try to relax. Dont get as agitated as I get. Its only a game for Gods sake. Theres
no reason to shout. Theres no reason your neighbours should complain to your wife
about you cursing from the top of your lungs.

Oh, the frustration

There are two ways to cross. Two important things to know: when you press RT
while performing any of these crosses, the cross will be slower and higher. And if
you press B twice, the cross will be low.

Regular crossing when you're on the flank press the direction button + B. The ball
will automatically be crossed somewhere in the box. This is what you do if you don't
know the next one.
Precise crossing press B + LB (from anywhere on the pitch). Your player will
cross the ball much more precise, aiming at your attacker. This is the one I
recommend you use. I don't see much use in the first one when you know this one.
In a combination with moving your attacker with RT to get into a better position, you
will be deadly in front of the goal. That I guarantee.

So, if your attacker is surrounded by defenders, it's not likely he'll be the first one on
the ball. But, if you move him a bit with the help of RT and directional buttons, after
you've crossed the ball, he may be able to push the defender a bit out of balance or
come in front of him in the position to shoot. Of course, this all has to be done very

I don't have to mention that your players are more likely to score if they have good
heading, jump, finishing attributes or One touch shot and Heading skills.


Everyone likes scoring amazing goals. For me, its one of the main reasons why I
play this game.


Dont just run around pushing buttons and shooting. When your attack looks like you
could score, think quickly. How would you like to score? Would you like to embarrass
your opponent by passing the ball around and running into an empty net while their
goalkeeper lies down, not knowing what the hell just happened? Or would you like to
cross the ball and try to perform a bicycle kick? Or stop the ball with your chest (with
RS button) and try to score an overhead kick? Or, maybe, your attacker could receive
the ball with his upper thigh and juggle before scoring (hold RS when you received
the ball and its still in midair and move with LS). If the end result is just like you
thought it would be, youll enjoy the game very much.


If youre more of a long ranger type, shoot whenever you get the chance. But, dont
just run with a player until he gets the chance to shoot. Try passing the ball back to
your player for the first time shot, they are very powerful. Or, for example, you can try
this one: pass the low ball from a corner to your full back, who usually stands
unmarked 30 meters diagonally from goal. Flick the ball up with RS in the direction of
a goal and perform a volley. If you score, itll be spectacular.


I really love lobbing the goalkeepers. Even if its not used as often as in PES 2015,
you will profit from learning how to do a lob shot (LB+X). And if you score a lob from
outside the box when you notice the goalkeeper is just a little too far from his line, itll
be something youll be able to brag about.
Use skill moves

Learn how to perform certain skill moves so you can use them to get rid of the
defenders before scoring. The more skills you use before scoring and the more
defenders you go around thanks to performing these skills, the better the goal will
look. So dont just use skills when theres no one around you and then score. Thats
just lame. To learn how to do skills, you won't have to search further than maremas's
tutorials for every platform there is. It's great.

Not everythings in the power

I really enjoy scoring (and watching others score) goals after Ive performed a great
passing action with many players included, to leave my attacker alone with the
goalkeeper or even with an empty goal in front of him. Slight RT+X tap on the
gamepad and the ball rolls slowly past the keeper Just love it! Powerful shot from
the outside doesnt have to be merit for a beautiful goal.

Here are my 20+ goals scored in 5 seasons of Master League with Tenerife on
Superstar level. Scorers Overall Rating ranges from low 70s to mid 80s. (Im not
sure why, but its much more pleasant for me to watch it in 720p than in 1080p).

You can't choose which player skills will players develop when playing ML, but it can
be a factor that will help you decide which player will play in which game. Here's a
complete list of player skills. I've marked those which I think are the most useful with
If you're satisfied with the manual, I would really
appreciate your feedback on my blog:

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