10 things I never do in Football Manager

Revealing some of the secrets behind my various successful Football Manager saves, emphasising the things I never do while playing the game.

Football Manager fans spawned many myths throughout the game releases. Many of them were conceived after reading rhetoric about the game by the developers, intended to make people think the game is even more realistic than it actually is.

Having a long and successful experience in the game helped me test and learn even more things during my confrontations with real users on Football Manager Live, techniques which I now employ in the game.

The 10 things I never do while playing Football Manager, yet I’m very successful:

1. I never change mentality during a match

The devs want to make you think you behave like a real manager just to give you the sense that the game’s getting closer to the real thing. But they said that Player Roles include both the defensive and offensive instructions just like in real life, so that helps a lot.

I only have to adjust the transition phases when setting up a tactic, leaving the rest to player roles. My philosophy is pretty direct, and that works well in most Football Manager releases if you know how to set it up.

2. I never make 3 subs at once

I found this has been seriously biased in the latest release. Morale has become even more important than it was in earlier editions.

When making a substitution have in mind that a player’s Morale and Current Ability will have your team’s overall recalculated and it will highly influence the outcome of your match.

But 3 subs at once tend to unbalance your team most of the times – I’ve learned it the hard way.

Also Sod’s Law guarantees you will almost certainly receive an injury in the highlight after your three players come on.

3. I never let my assistant handle team talks or touchline instructions

Team talks are essential for success in Football Manager, as they are one of the most direct ways of affecting Morale, a powerful variable in the match engine.

There’s no way you can leave your assistant handle them if you really want to achieve the best possible results.

Touchline talks can do more harm than good if you ask me. They require a lot of testing as they will constantly change they way they affect your players’ behaviour. If you don’t know how they work you’d better stay away, it’s not necessary to use them.

4. I never let my assistant handle press conferences

As weird as it might sound, they will actually have an effect on your long runs. Unambitious players can suffer a morale decrease or get switched off as a result of they way you handle media interactions.

I never let my assistant attend press conferences, but if I feel like skipping them I’ll just click on the 2nd or 4th answer randomly – this way you can’t do much harm.

5. I never let my assistant handle senior squad training

Assistants never know how the game’s best setting this year will be like; this is why I don’t trust them.

Many managers might suggest using fitness as focus in the pre-season, but that’s not the most efficient by any means.

I usually set Match Training to 50% with the focus on Match Tactics during pre-season.

That gets changed after the official matches are starting to Attacking Movement, also lowering the intensity to 30%. But General Training always stays focused on Team Cohesion.

6. I never adjust player roles to better suit one’s recommendation

This is purely a myth, and goes along with using the player on its natural position. I always use the same player roles that tell players exactly how to behave during the transition phases.

Changing roles only to suit individual’s attributes is purely going to make you fail.

Regarding natural positions, try to figure out where you player can perform and how good he is on different positions. I’ve trained natural centre mids or wingers as full backs, having them perform incredibly well.

7. I never start a player with a condition lever lower than 89%

Unless I’m left with no choice, but this shouldn’t happen too often, if at all. My tactics are usually very demanding and a player with poor condition won’t perform effectively.

Morale and Condition are the two things to follow when selecting your match squad. One’s value can be less important if the other two are much worse.

8. I never arrange friendlies against strong teams

Mainly because there are plenty of other better ways of making money. Secondly, because I prefer having my players gelled faster. And finally, because of my overriding desire to keep morale as high as possible.

9. I never use opposition instructions

Opposition instructions will change your tactics and confuse your players. You just won’t have a regular style if you keep using them.

During short-odd matches, you might want to give one or two to try and stop a quality player, but I don’t usually bother.

I’d rather rely on my tactics, and win or lose knowing exactly why that happenned.

10. I never have team meetings unless I really need them

Because I don’t want to find myself unable to have a word with the squad when I’m desperate to increase their morale. I only use them before extremely difficult matches or when my team’s morale is down and I can’t really up it enough using the other methods.

Can’t win away matches on Football Manager? Tired of losing and being stuck in mediocrity? Do you need calibrated tactics and a proven performers shortlist?

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  1. Going from my fm14 experience primarily from my 2nd save (with Celtic, my first save I did less on with my home team Leicester, was somewhat harder and didn’t use all I’ve indicated below as the Celtic save was more about learning how to do things better) (I’ve not done much fm15 yet):

    1) I never use different mentality or play style even with my formations, i keep it the same at all times (it worked very well on fm14 for me) – that way, if I choose to use an untested formation, my team can still follow the same playstyle ensuring more consistent results due to little loss of tactical familiarity due to playstyle, and I can easily rotate my formations to prevent the AI adapting to one specific formation
    2) I pretty much always make all my subs at once, usually around the 60 minute mark (I dislike making substitutions much earlier or later than that for some reason, unless I make 1 or 2 at half time)
    3) I often (though not always) follow my assistants advice on the rare occasions I don’t actually ask him to do the team talk in the team talk section. Never use touchline instructions at all though
    4) I’ve always asked my assistant to deal with press conferences
    5) I always deal with training myself, occasionally following recommendations from staff meetings
    6) I try to play players with appropriate attributes for the role, or train them accordingly, but on fm14 if I really needed to I just put players who could play the position, without changing the role, regardless of how effectively they could perform it
    7) I have a few first choice players but unless I have no choice (say, injury crisis) I will select rotational players if they have higher conditioning than the first choice players, particularly if the first choice is below mid 90s conditioning, unless a player is just coming back from injury (where they usually sit on 94% condition if not played)
    8) I never arrange friendlies at all, leave that to my assistant and usually get weaker teams (occasionally still get strong teams though)
    9) Leave opposition instructions to assistant, but I can see your reasoning behind not using them, definitely something I will try out
    10) I have rarely needed team meetings, so can’t really comment on this one

    So, apart from the obvious differences, anything you could suggest I change?

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