How to Protect/Shield the Ball
L2 (PS4) / LT (Xbox One) allows you to shield the ball when you have it, and therefore it’s usually used when attacking, but you can and should use it defensively too. If the ball is being fiercely contested by both players, your player might take it and shield it if you press L2 (PS4) / LT (Xbox One), which is particularly effective if your player is physically stronger than the opponent and less risky than a regular tackle. So all you have to do is when you do a thorough pass make sure you hold LT/L2 and the sprint button RT/R2 together whilst you are in front of the defender and you will stop the player from passing you and getting in front.
Think of shielding less like something you can just hold to fend off the defense, and more as a counter to them tackling. So if the defender presses B to tackle, then you can tap to shield and counter that lunge. Half the time it results in the defender bouncing off and giving you space to move the ball away from pressure.