im Man City, have an awesome squad that just beat chelsea 5 - 0. The next game is charlton, in the relegation zone, and i lose 2-1. This isnt the only time that its happened though, for the past 3 seasons i havent one against the teams in the relegation zone. I change my tactics according to whether Im home or away to no avail. Is it just that my players are cocky beggers? Hellllppppp!
It could come down to a few things. What you, or your Assman, have said in the pre-match press conference, pre-match team talk or half time team talk could lead to your players being over confident or less motivated to win the upcoming match. What do you usually say to your team before going out to play a team in the lower regions of the league?
I usually tell them to do this for the fans. And give them the hair dryer treatment at half time when they do rubbish. Its just happened again. Was winning 2 - 0 after 10 minutes against bottom of the league, and it just seems they fall asleep and let two goals go past them, drawing 2-2
One is as the guys above say, the players may be complacent and they need to be motivated properly.
Two is you might be tempted to rest a few top players and give squad players a run-out, thus underestimating the opposition.
Three is that the poor sides will play a different tactic to the top sides. The top sides will come out and attack, and your tactics might be set up against that kind of play. But the lower sides will park the bus and look to hit you on the break. If you aren't taking the different tactics into account, you are leaving yourself vulnerable.
Quite possibly, it's a combination of all three. You have a lot of thinking to do!!
Regarding 1., use the "TV View", click "Match Day Info", and tick "Man City Motivation". You'll be able to see at a glance which of your players are overconfident (after about 8 minutes of the match). That can help you dial in your pre-match team talks.
Regarding 2, I'm not sure sending out some squad players is a bad thing, in games we're expected to win. Sometimes, they're more motivated than the core of my squad, because they're just happy to have a chance to impress me. I think mentality (personality, Professionalism, work rate, determination) are more important for these games; its my consistent professional players who do best in them.
Regarding 3., every version of FM, I try to develop a tactic I name my "Patient Build-up" tactic: its the one where I try to get my players passing around the perimeter, probing to try and draw a packed defense out of position, but never ever rushing play, and always keeping enough of a defense set up that we don't get shredded on the counter. Its a critical arrow in my quiver, and is one of the hardest to get "right" .. but its perfect for those games against relegation battlers fifteen places below you in the league. If your current tactics suite has "Home" and "Away", I'd recommend you add "Patient" as a third.
I'm in the "make up my own" school, so I'm going to give you the gist, not the specifics and not a link to download.
Forward Runs - mixed, even for positions like FB and wing where you might think "Often" Theory: if everybody presses forward with forward runs, there aren't enough short / lateral passes available to make that side-to-side action work.
Passing - short, well under the halfway mark for most players. Theory: the opposition has set up to defend, and Direct passing is just going straight into the teeth of the defense.
Mentality - not too "Attacking", over the halfway mark but not by a ton. Theory: the opposition are trying to suck you forward and hit you on the counter. Just like passing, mentality that is too straightforward leads to players only looking forward and "rushing" when the opportunity is not on.
Crosses - Mixed. Theory: against a stalwart, packed-box defense, aerial crosses into the box are dealt with all day long. You don't want to say "Don't", in case a player spots the perfect cross, but you don't need the guys to force it.
Creativity - High, for most players. Its going to take creativity to break down that defense!
Tempo is always a challenge to get right for this. It feels to me like it amounts to "As high as you can get it and still have the players not visibly look like they're 'rushing' in the match view." Turnovers on first touch, or wayward one-touch passes, indicate that its too high. Getting caught in possession indicates that its too low. The right value varies from team to team: Man U can support a much higher tempo for this than my York City side down in the BSP.
Time wasting low, of course, but not all the way down.
Through balls on for plenty of players, but not all; pick and choose by creativity, decisions, and passing.
Hold Up Ball for plenty of players, especially up front and out wide: strikers, wings, and fullbacks.
Pay careful attention to your set piece tactics - corners and AFK's. You don't want the corner cheat, but you DO want to be a threat. Ideally, at least one of your "Stay Back" players needs Mixed forward runs so that he comes forward to challenge for clearances. You also need one "Lurk Outside Area" to deal with half-chances; I like somebody with solid Long Shots but also good Creativity and Passing.
From that base, monkey with it.. you'll find something that works, and it won't look at all like the typical counter-attacking "away" formula, or a good "home" formula. Very useful to have in your arsenal, though!
Its a bug, one of the main reasons I have stopped playing - lets hope its fixed for FM2010.
It's not a bug - "For the fans" will generally only work against rival teams. ALWAYS LOOK AT THE BETTING ODDS!!! If you are MCFC and playing bottom 3 teams you should be heavily favoured in the bookies. If you are heavily favoured tell the team "you expect a win". If the odds are close try wish luck or you can win (I can never seem to get this pinned down to one).
If at HT you are down, get the hair dryer out, sub a poor striker and tell the sub that you have faith. Works nearly every time. If you are even, be dissapointed.
This is all on one of the posts here but I can't find the link hence my brief plagarising! The author listed a lot of things and generally they seem to work although I personally disagree with "you can win this game" when playing against a side you should hammer. This should, in my opinion, be reserved when you are playing a top team and drawing at HT.
Finally, ask yourself this... why as a lower league team in the cup or relegation threatened club against the champions elect do you succeed in a match against the odds? Is it motivation, morale, over confidence in the opposition, luck, that do or die feeling or a combination of all of them?