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I always seem to overachieve with lower reputation teams but underachieve with high reputation teams


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I'm currently in the 2024/2025 season of my current save and have managed 4 clubs so far: Tottenham, Bournemouth, Schalke and currently Chelsea.

I have tended to use the 4-2-3-1 formation with all the teams I use but with varied success. My first season with Tottenham went pretty badly, ending up 6th place. I resigned within the first quarter of the second season after a poor spell of results.

When I joined Bournemouth I did particularly well. I qualified them for Europa League football twice and got them into a Carabao cup final but resigned after 8 straight games without a win

I proceeded to join Schalke which has been my best club so far. In my first season with them we finished second and had won the German Cup. We proceeded to the knockout rounds in the Champions league, however was forced out the job after having demands for a larger transfer budget not being met as I was being forced into selling top players without any of the funds returning to the transfer budget.

Now during this season  at Chelsea I had a really strong start to the season however we really fell off the mark, now being 6th after 27 games. 

What I want to know is why I am struggling so much with the higher reputation teams despite my tactics providing success elsewhere. My teams always tend to have high morale especially during times where were are struggling badly but it never translates into good results and is becoming frustrating as I am unsure how I can improve on it. 

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I see this quite a lot in here, and the answer is almost always the same. Your tactic seems to be suited when you have space to exploit, but don't work when playing against more defensive teams. This is also why some claim the AI have "cracked" the tactic around Christmas when overachieving. When playing a lower rated team the other team will attack you allowing you space to counter, or pressing high to regain the ball and allowing space. If you have a tactic that expects that space, then you will be successful. However, when you play against teams who are more defensive and sit back to try to hit you on the counter, then you won't have the space, and by that might struggle. This is why you often will lose 1-0 or win 5-0. Because if you get the first goal, they have to push back at some point and thus giving you the space you need.

The same happens when you start to struggle after about half the season if you are winning a lot at the start with a poorer team. Then the opposing team will see that you are not as poor as they thought and the same happens. The key is just to notice it happen and then change to a tactical approach that expect the opponent to defend more. But seeing that you have a good tactic for exploiting space you have a good tactic to switch to when playing good teams. So you can switch between tactics depending on opponent and how the match goes. If you are up 2 goals to a team that started defensively, then it might be a good idea to switch to the tactic that exploits space, since they have to attack to get something out of the match.

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6 hours ago, XaW said:

I see this quite a lot in here, and the answer is almost always the same. Your tactic seems to be suited when you have space to exploit, but don't work when playing against more defensive teams. This is also why some claim the AI have "cracked" the tactic around Christmas when overachieving. When playing a lower rated team the other team will attack you allowing you space to counter, or pressing high to regain the ball and allowing space. If you have a tactic that expects that space, then you will be successful. However, when you play against teams who are more defensive and sit back to try to hit you on the counter, then you won't have the space, and by that might struggle. This is why you often will lose 1-0 or win 5-0. Because if you get the first goal, they have to push back at some point and thus giving you the space you need.

The same happens when you start to struggle after about half the season if you are winning a lot at the start with a poorer team. Then the opposing team will see that you are not as poor as they thought and the same happens. The key is just to notice it happen and then change to a tactical approach that expect the opponent to defend more. But seeing that you have a good tactic for exploiting space you have a good tactic to switch to when playing good teams. So you can switch between tactics depending on opponent and how the match goes. If you are up 2 goals to a team that started defensively, then it might be a good idea to switch to the tactic that exploits space, since they have to attack to get something out of the match.

Interesting, I can certainly see how that would work. I went on a 20 game streak of scoring goals, now I have found myself scoring no goals for 3 games. What has let me down in a lot of my games in my time is chelsea is the amount that I concede. I tend to regularly have games where it ends ups being something ridiculous like 3-2. When this happens I tend to focus training on defense and technical stuff which seems to work but only for the next game. I would play direct football however the club is strictly against that style of play.

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2 hours ago, MrKemp said:

Interesting, I can certainly see how that would work. I went on a 20 game streak of scoring goals, now I have found myself scoring no goals for 3 games. What has let me down in a lot of my games in my time is chelsea is the amount that I concede. I tend to regularly have games where it ends ups being something ridiculous like 3-2. When this happens I tend to focus training on defense and technical stuff which seems to work but only for the next game. I would play direct football however the club is strictly against that style of play.

Yeah, it's not a very popular answer, but the old FM-phrase "it's your tactics" is quite often the answer when these things happen. Direct football is reliant of using space, but if the space is unavailable, then it's hard to be very successful against teams that defend with a low block and give little space. If you are struggling to create a tactic more suited to break down defensive teams, you should ask in the tactics forum, there you should get a lot of good answers quite fast.

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Also your reputation star rating as a manager can have an impact on bigger teams with bigger players.

In my current save I went from Villa to Schalke half way through the second season. I had a 1 1/2 star reputation and the dressing room at S04 weren't convinced by me so results suffered and I won only 2 out of the first 14 league games. (free tip: I then sold all the team leaders, invested in younger players - LOVRO MAJER THE NEW MODRIC - and then won 2 BLs and 3 Pokals in 4 seasons. And it should've been 4 doubles but blew a 10 point lead in the first season and lost to Dortmund on a last day decider in the third)

Anyhoo, by the time I'd been successful at S04 I'd gone from 1 1/2 star to 4 star, have been headhunted by Spurs, have signed my 3 team leaders from S04 - LOVRO MAJER THE NEW MODRIC - and have won 5 of my first 6 PL games (the 6th being an FM FU 4-1 loss to Burnley who had 4 shots on goal)

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