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Keeping Injuries Under Control on Football Manager

Facing injury problems? Follow our comprehensive guide to best arm yourself with in-depth insight that will enable you to fight injuries off and give your team the comparative advantage. Freshly written for FM 2015.

By on Dec 19, 2014   195151 views   1 comments
Football Manager Guides - Keeping Injuries Under Control on Football Manager

Making subs during a match to prevent injury

Written by AlexTHFC

There are often players that, no matter how well or badly they play, cannot last a whole match without getting some sort of injury or drastically losing fitness. As, in most leagues, you can only make three substitutions, this can prove to be very irritating and frustrating even in the best of times. This is why I am going to explain how you can make substitutions effectively when required to prevent injuries from occurring, but without causing major harm to your team in that match.

I am going to divide this topic into several categories that all depend on the type of team you are using and the type of match you are playing. For example, if you are a big team such as Chelsea or Manchester City playing in the Capital One Cup against Accrington Stanley, you may need to apply these bits of advice differently than if you were a team like Barcelona in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich.

#1: Small Club, Big League, Small Game

The first category is if you are a club like Crystal Palace. If you are in the Premier League, battling to stay in the top tier of English football. In the middle of these games, you have a Capital One Cup tie against Burton Albion. Now, you would be more willing to focus on the Premier League, so you would play a back-up squad.

In this case, it may be wiser to keep these back-up players in the team for the entire match unless their fitness is incredibly bad. I would not advise you to put on many first team players, if any at all. However, I would make an exception for a first team player who has just come back from injury. If this is the case, it might be a good decision to bring this first team player on for a small portion of the game.

#2: Small Club, Small League, Small Game

Similar to the previous scenario, you have been given a cup game against a relatively small team that may be level to you. Say, you are playing as Tranmere Rovers against Rochdale in the Capital One Cup. This is quite an unimportant game for you, although maybe you would like a chance to get through to the next round of a major English cup. After all, everybody loves an underdog. In this case, you wouldn't play your full squad, but there will be quite a few first team players.

The Capital One Cup is not important to a team like Tranmere, because realistically, they would not stand much of a chance of winning it. So, if one of your key first team players is getting tired out there, and is quite prone to injury, I would suggest taking him off in favour of a less important player to you.

#3: Big Club, Big League, Small Game

Now imagine you are playing as a club like Chelsea, Manchester City, Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Paris Saint-Germain. You are top of your league, possibly in a bit of a scrap with the teams in second and third, and you have a cup match against a team such as Blackburn Rovers, Numancia, Nurnberg or Guingamp. The cup isn't important to you, you have much bigger fish to fry, but if you are dominating your league, it could be nice to get an extra bit of silverware to your name. With this in mind, you play a similar team to one if you were in Scenario 2 (not the full squad, but quite a few first team players).

You would desperately save your key players for more important fixtures, because if you are a team like Chelsea or Barcelona, you will most likely have Champions League football and therefore a more important game to save your players for. If a key player is looking low on fitness, I would advise you to take him off immediately and bring on a less important player. This also helps happiness of the squad, with the key player feeling ready for other fixtures, and the back-up player getting his desired first team football.

Match Guide: Managing morale and confidence
A brief guide that explains how to best handle press conferences and team talks in order to give an edge to your team or at least make your team fight for every ball on the pitch.

#4: Small Club, Small League, Big Game

Back to being Tranmere again, but now you are playing a key league fixture, perhaps the play-off final. Let’s take this and say you are playing in the League 2 play-off final against a team like Luton Town. This is obviously the moment you have built up to for the entire season, so you are going to play the strongest team you can possibly play.

So what do you do when one of your players is dangerously low on fitness? Well, you should have some quality back-up for these players, so if it is late enough in the game for it not to make too much of a major impact, I would suggest bringing the back-up on. However, you must remember that this will be the last game of your season, so is it a great danger for him to become injured. Unless it’s a serious injury, he will be back to full fitness by the time the next season comes around. If you are not playing in the last game of the season, let’s say you are playing in a vital game in the middle of the season, I would definitely recommend the first bit of advice I gave you.

#5: Small Club, Big League, Big Game

And we are back to Crystal Palace. If you are halfway through the season, in a dangerous position (around 18th-16th), and you have a very important match coming up against the club placed directly below you in the table. In this situation, I would advise you to play your strongest squad possible, because you could see yourself launching up the table from then onwards if you get a good result.

However, if one of your key players begins to lose fitness, I would suggest taking them off for a defensive player and changing your tactic to one that makes you more solid in defense. If this key player is in attack, you may have just lost a main chance of getting goals in the game. So, unless the result you currently have is a heavy defeat, it is better to keep the points and goal difference you were going to have, go more defensively and hope that perhaps your remaining attackers scores for you. If the key player is in defense, you have just lost a main defender, so perhaps it is best to play more defenders to mend this wound, so to speak.

#6: Big Club, Big League, Big Game

This is it. You are a team like Chelsea, Manchester City, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain or any big team, and you have made it to the Champions League final against one of the teams just mentioned. Months if not years have been spent building up to this moment, so you must play the most outstanding team possible.

Then, disaster strikes. One of your best players loses fitness. His standard of football drops, and the only thing you can do is take him off. It’s the best thing to do for the game. So, in that situation, you bring on a back-up player and hope for the best. However, if the fitness is dropping but his football does not, it will be better to take a risk and keep him on. The Champions League is the cup of all cups, there is nothing more important. If you are going to take a risk at any point, it’s best to take a risk at that moment.

I always remove my star players from FA Cup and League Cup. Premier League longevity is far more important.
Jun Sabari

Your star player does not need to play against a team a few divisions below you when you have a big game in a few days. Plan ahead! In most cases, star players seem largely uninterested during such matches.
Mathis Jennings and Zijad Džehović

Points to take away:
  • make substitutions effectively when required to prevent injuries from occurring
  • adjust your subs based on the type of match you are playing
  • consider removing or subbing your star players from non important matches

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About Stam

I started FM Scout for fun in the distant 2004. I'm proud of how this place has grown into a vibrant community and I try my best to improve it every year. Husband and father of two.

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Discussion: Keeping Injuries Under Control on Football Manager

1 comments have been posted so far.

  • Nyemasanya's avatar
    there are three (or four) more fundamental factors:

    1, match instruction: "Get stuck in" - the stonger your player tackle the opposition the bigger the chance that he will hurt himself too.
    2. individual opposition tackling instruction: "Hard" - the more opposition players are set to be tackled hard the more injuries your own players will pick up. Especially if you consider that the more attacking the position is usually the worse the tackling ability of the player is. I do not ask my midfilders and wingers to tackle opp. midfilders/wingers hard any more and their injuries substantially decreased.
    3, level of fitness coaching: higher aerobic coaching helps to prevent injuries to occur.

    and depending on how do you interpret what is already written in the article (was it aimed only at pre-season or not):
    4, general training level during season: setting it higher (i.e. above average) increases the likelyhood of getting injured in training
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