First, I would just like to say that I'm sorry if you get topics like this one every minute.
I just feel like I'm in a weird space with FM. I have tried to get into the game numerous times, to relatively no success. I have bought FM 2017, played it 10ish hours then dropped it.
I have played FM21 for a little longer, 20ish hours, but restarted with a new team twice, so made little to no progress.
When I log into the game, I end up going through the same problem: I get started, get overwhelmed by all of the new things you have to learn, get lost in all the pre-season stuff, and never actually play a league match.
So I am asking for your advice. I have a a few precise questions but I guess any general advice is welcome and very appreciated. Here are my questions:
- Should I delegate more? I end up trying to do a lot myself, fearing that the AI will fuck most of its tasks up. Is that a mistake, especially as a beginner? What shouldn't I delegate?
- Should I start with a major club, like a first division or even CL club? Is it better to learn the basics with a smaller team? I would be happy doing a bit of both in the long term, just looking for the easiest way to learn.
Again, thank you for your time and help.
OK so I always start with lower league sides, but you could certainly go worse than using this approach with professional sides.
Set up and the start of each Season
Check out the season odds for the team and Board expectations. This is your base target for the season.
Review the squad and release players that are not up to scratch. Try and buy young promising players who rate well and are off contract or are non-contract players. In the lower leagues, focus on speed and size when buying or keeping players.
Take a similar approach with staff but make sure you have reasonable cover. Most clubs will let you negotiate a contract for new staff and then sack the existing if the new one accepts. Try and get all the coaching up to 3 stars. This may not be possible if your Board won’t allow many staff.
Set up 3 tactics, one as the main tactic and then an aggressive one to try and get goals when you need them and a defensive one to protect goals. Ideally you need to be able to easily move between these with the selected players on the pitch, see the Tactics section below.
Set up the training – see the training section below.
Try and improve the youth recruitment and facilities every 6 months or so. It will help you in a long term save.
If you don’t have them, try and set up a parent club and an affiliate so you can easily loan players out and in.
Arrange all your friendly games at home, and mostly on Saturdays if you are not a professional side. This is easier on the players with less travel. Focus the friendlies on larger clubs to try and make money.
The focus for training should be attribute improvement, tactic familiarization, position and role familiarization, managing player morale, squad cohesion and fatigue.
A good starting point for a training schedule is the ZaZ Blue ones, see the FM Arena site and go to the ZaZ Blue tactic. In the opening post there are training schedules that you can download. It is worth swapping some of the attacking and defending training slots to the ones below. It is also worthwhile slotting in a Match Review the day after a game if there is training on that day as it seems to help with players understanding what went wrong or right in the previous game and reinforce good habits.
If you are playing in lower leagues with a part time side, try and include Ground Defence or Aerial Defence and Chance Conversion or Chance Creation as these include time for individual training. I start with Chance Creation (Attack and Individual), Teamwork (Morale and Cohesion), Ground Defence (Defence and Individual) and Match Tactics (Tactic Familiarity). If you are creating chances a lot but not scoring swap the attacking training to Chance Conversion and if the opposition are scoring the majority of their goals from headers change the defensive training to Aerial Defence.
Set all players individual training to the position and role you want them to play. Set the individual focus to one that covers an attribute that has low CA cost and is a key attribute for the player’s position. Here is the first choice for each position:
GK Decisions – GK Tactical
DRL Stamina – Endurance
DC Decisions or Positioning – Defensive Positioning
WBRL Stamina – Endurance
DM Agility or Decisions or Marking – Agility and Balance
MRL Agility– Agility and Balance
MC Decisions or Stamina – Final Third
AMRL Stamina– Endurance
AMC Stamina or Agility – Endurance
Fast Striker Finishing – Shooting
Target Striker Jumping Reach or Finishing – Shooting
This is for all players.
The best way to stop injuries and fatigue in FM is to rotate the squad. Ideally you should have at least 2 reasonable players for each position in the tactics you are using, don’t play anyone who is listed as Fatigued or Heavy in terms of workload.
The second and critical thing is after each day in the game, go to the Training tab, and then the Rest tab. Select all your players and right click and select Training Intensity - Automatic. Then press the button at the bottom right, Set Training Intensity to Physio Recommendation. This will lessen the load on players who are fatigued.
If you have good leaders/influential players with good personalities and some young promising players in the same social group as the leaders it would be worth setting up mentoring groups. Young players can develop quicker under mentoring arrangements especially if they are getting decent game time in the main squad.
You just need to ensure the things above align, leader, good personality, same social group and young player with plenty of upside or potential.
You need to be praising your players when they do well in training or in matches and berating when they are failing and you need to be using the right touchline and team talk instructions to inspire your team. Training ratings or match day performance 8+ - individual praise. Training or match day lower than 6.2 warn player.
Generally use the Assistant Manager advice for the team talk or what you feel will work. If you don’t have the response you were after from any group of players try telling the defenders/mids/attackers that you have faith in their ability. You can tell all or just the ones that need it.
Encourage when side is doing well but not winning
Demand more if down a goal
Praise when you score
At half time
Demand more if drawing or down by a goal
If down by more than one goal Berate
Praise for a win
Berate for a loss
In all of the above circumstances, be a bit more lenient if you are underdogs.
Pick players on form but allow them an off game. Start the season based on ratings and try and rotate the squad to allow your back up players to perform, ideally in cup games or arrange friendlies for them. Using the training above should work to keep players fit and not overwork them. If players are lacking fitness give them a run in lower squads to keep their match fitness up or arrange friendlies.
If the tactics aren’t working try one of your other tactics. Don’t swap them too often through a game especially in lower leagues as the players won’t cope and will get confused. I try to keep my three tactics so there isn’t much change eg one position moves 4-1-3-0-2 to 4-1-2-0-3 or 4-1-3-1-1. Swapping to a different tactic for cup games often works because they haven’t seen you play before and will be prepared for your standard tactic.
I generally set up 5 team selection sides under Manage in Tactics Selection. The Best XI, the Second XI, the fastest XI from the top 22 players, and a Team A and Team B which are a split between the two top teams.
Ideally you should try and play the Best XI or Fastest in the league games. And then play the Second XI in Cup games and where there are 2 games per week. If the Second XI isn’t keeping fitness then arrange friendlies to keep them up to match fitness.
Monitor tactics throughout the season and within games. If you usually lead the stats and win games, and are behind on stats change tactics. If you are performing as per normal but just can’t get the goal to put you in front don’t panic.
When you cop a yellow card tell that player to ease off on tackle. If you swap tactics you will need to do this again as it doesn’t carry across tactics. If you don’t get players to ease off you run the risk of getting a further yellow and going down a player.
To protect a lead you can ease off tackles for all players set the goal keeper to slow the pace down, reduce tempo and pressing intensity by one slot. This will also reduce the impact on the players if you are running high intensity tactics.
Get the best coaches you can afford and try and get your coaching stars up to at least 2 stars for every coaching area and 3 if you can. At the end of every year try and increase your staffing numbers until you can get to at least 4.5 stars in each coaching area.
Check training for the next month to ensure you are using the training schedule you want.
Praise and berate players based on their form for the last 5 games.
Recheck FM Genie for ratings and how the team sits for Best XI etc.
Review player happiness.
Reset Player expectations.
Adjust training for Physio recommendations.
Set squad for next game.
Analyze next team and look at out of position players and weaknesses.
Select best tactics and players for next game.
Good luck and best of all enjoy.