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How to approach a match from start to finish on Football Manager

A step by step quick guide by FuSS outlining how to select lineup, how to do team-talks, set up OIs, rotate shouts, and adapt to your opponent. Written for FM 2020.

By on Jun 11, 2020   22136 views   0 comments
FM Quick Tips - How to approach a match from start to finish on Football Manager
In order to best showcase how to approach a match from start to finish on Football Manager, we'll use an example of a very important match. League Cup Final - Salford (1st League One) VS Liverpool (2nd Premier League).

This quick guide is written by FuSS and initially appeared as an update in his FuSSfilment thread on SI forums.

Relevant Tactics (used for this example)

FuSSfilment FM20 Tactic
Tactic based on building passing triangles that advance up the two flanks.

How did I select my lineup?

  • I didn't just pick my best players, that would be a mistake for such a big game.
  • I expected a very physical game using OIs, so they had to have almost 100% fitness, that meant dropping some first choice players (such as Trincao and Garner) as they were at less than 95%.
  • I didn't pick my usual defensive pairing, but instead went for players that were faster, knowing Liverpool like to play over the top.
  • I choose players that enjoyed big games, this can be seen in the coaches reports, see Cocha below (he wouldn't usually be first choice, but big game players tend to over-perform on big games!).

How did I do my team talk?

  • This one was easy. "Calm" and "underdogs" got my the above positive response.
  • I then selected those players who didn't respond and went with "Calm" and "have faith" - everyone but Pellegrini responded well.
  • Pellegrini is a new loan from the January window and has yet to adapt to my team talk style, so I don't expect much response from him yet; I would have used Brewster but he's on loan from Liverpool and so ineligible.

Onto the match!

  • I stayed with a "Positive" mentality as Liverpool push a lot of men forward, therefore switching to a "Cautious" mentality would lead to me getting boxed in far too easily.
  • I knew I'd have to use OIs from the very beginning against a team like Liverpool, hence my expectations earlier of a very physical game.
  • I set my OIs up to essentially target any attacking players, like the below.
  • You'll notice I don't target the DCs or DMC, that's because they tend to stay deep for Liverpool and that would pull my players out of position way too far up the field.
  • If you do this, you need to update your OIs for every substitute, otherwise you'll create gaps.


I rotated shouts as soon as the previous shout's effect worn off.


  • Liverpool have center backs that are far better at jumping, heading and positioning than anyone on my team - Therefore whipped crosses and wing play were not going to work in this instance.
  • Instead I switched my team to play through the middle.
  • The result speaks for itself.
  • My big game players had great matches.
  • We scored from through-balls down the middle.
  • And my specially selected defensive pairing did their job.
  • Even bloody Pellegrini did well!
  • Ignore the whole thing on my right wing, I lost a player to injury right at the end of the match and it wasn't worth changing it.

Over to you!

How do YOU approach a match from start to finish? Let us know in the comments below.

Stam's avatar
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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