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 but leave the last friendly as an easy game to try and build confidence..
The focus for training should be attribute improvement, tactic familiarisation, position and role familiarisation, managing player morale, squad cohesion and fatigue.
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 a reasonable amount of 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 – GK Reactions
DRL – Endurance
DC – Quickness
WBRL – Endurance
DM – Passing
MRL – Quickness
MC – Passing
AMRL – Quickness
AMC – Quickness
Fast Striker – Ball Control
Target Striker – Strength
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 and ;argely reduce your injury toll.
After each match set any player that has very high injury risk to Rest for 2 or 3 days.
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 talks 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 4-1-1-2W-2 to 4-1-0-3W-2 or 4-1-2-2W-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. Currently I am using Winx v5 (my own tactic), ZaZ Blue 4.0 and ZaZ Green 4.0 – see FM Arena for downloads. Any tactic rated 5.5 or over is fine.
I generally set up 6 team selection sides under Manage in Tactics Selection. The Best XI, the Second XI, the fastest XI from the top 22 players, a Team A and Team B which are a split between the two top teams, and a best Potential team.
Ideally you should try and play the Best XI or Fastest in the league games. And then play the Second XI or Potential team 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. Try and replace players that get yellow cards if you can. Best to do this after the 55 minute mark but keep one replacement for 70 minutes plus.
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.
Analyse 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.