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I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority here, but they way I've always played FM when using a bigger team playing in a continental competition is having team 1 and team 2. Same tactic for the most part, but sometimes there's some difference in roles. Whenever I have two games within 2-4 days, I do a full rotation saving my true first team for the more important game. There can be of course some exceptions like playing CL and toughest competitor in the league if I'm not sure I've already clinched the title for example. Team 2 also plays domestic cups usually until maybe the final or semis depending on the opposition. In the end it's more or less 60-40 % which team starts. Stars from the 1st team are often subbed in if the second team is having trouble though.

 

This gives me the opportunity to keep my squad fresh for the entire season, the ability to keep training fairly intense and also it means my team is always the much more fresh one in the last 15 minutes of the game. Also I can keep players happy giving them game time, youngsters get to start instead of just going in as subs etc. and I've never had a star player complain that they're not getting enough game time because they're not starting basically every game. I've always read about the importance of having a fairly set team but I've never really found it at all important personally and I've never had a save where I didn't overachieve.

 

How do you guys do it and why?

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The same really, and I'm not top tier. I've done it from lower league upwards. Lower league clubs have too many cup competitions meaning most weeks are 2 games a week. Without decent training, especially if part-time, and with lower stamina attributes especially among youth players, I find most can't handle two games a week.

I have a very structured set-up. First team squad of 21. That's one keeper and 2 players for each position. Ideally, I choose which one according to opposition, but with 2 matches a week it's simply a case of the one with best condition, i.e. hasn't played in a week. Then I have 11 in the reserve team. They play a weekly reserve match but are ready to step up to the first team to cover injuries and suspensions. Then I have 11 in my Youth Squad, also able to play weekly to keep fit and can step up to the Reserves when a reserve steps up. If my first team substitutes' match sharpness dips, they'll play 60 mins of a midweek reserve game, as do first teamers coming back from injury. Any first teamer whose form dips gets dropped to the reserves and replaced, and of course any reserve who seems to excel gets a chance in the first team. It's a system that works well through the leagues and doesn't bring much in the way of player complaints.

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Squad of 20-23 normally after about 4/5 seasons Depending who i can get rid of.... Main first team play most (Maybe 75% of matches), but I'll rest and rotate vs "weaker" teams, or play the 2nd in postition\Fringe Youth stars vs Lower league teams. I'll also sub at 45\60 minutes, if any specific players are on the edge and need a rest - Example if they've just come back from internationals, and\or are tired (Hover over the heart icon) the day before a match, these players will normally only play 60 minutes max. I'd rather get the result and bring them off early, vs bring them on because we need to get a result.

As the save goes on my squad becomes smaller, and I tend to run smaller squads than the AI. Takes a long time to thin out, as I loan\develop to sell the players I'm not going to keep, Unless they are just not even close to anything.

U23 squad is also used for match fitness from injury (45\60\90 depending on length of injury). My U23 squad is mainly players that are 1 level below what I am, and are almost ready, so almost all can step up to first team to cover in emergency. I also put players in from when I need to manage an U18\U23 injury (Need to raise this as a bug report\suggestion actually..) when fixtures allow, and I can give a player match fitness time.

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I hate playing 'weakened' teams so I rotate as little as possible.  I tend to only take players out of the team if they're carrying an injury or have lost a bit of form.  I tend to like small squads too.  Maybe 20 in the first team squad, but if I have a good youth set up i'm not afraid to put some 16 or 17 year olds into the team at times.  Usually if they're what I think are really good prospects.  The other thing I like are players who are versatlie and can play in a few positions on the pitch, so I think that takes away a bit of the need of rotation for me.

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I've done what you're doing for many years, but I always end up being annoyed when my players miss out on various awards, team of the season and so on because of rotating too heavily in different competitions.

So I have gone fully to a squad for the league, and one for cups/Europe. It's rare now that I make changes to these squads, other than injuries. But there will always be some injuries, as I am less picky about players with high injury proneness than most people, which means my first team is around 28-30 players. The 5-7 extra players will be talented youngsters that don't need to be registered, and they generally cover for injuries in both squads, the most talented ones get minutes from the bench while trying to push out someone from squad 1/2. Once I know an older player will fall out of a squad soon, he'll be sold. 

 

It's a luxury approach, as I am paying way more wages than I'd need to, but I like that I never get jaded players, while being able to enjoy many different players in a single save. 

 

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I never rotate more than five players at a time as I find this usually upsets the rhythm of my team and a bad result invariably follows. The only exceptions to this are if I have a cup game against complete minnows, or if I'm forced into it from injuries/suspensions.

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I have always had the philosophy of having a first team squad and rotating regularly assuming that you have at least 2 capable players for each position and that has worked well for many years.  I also try to have no players of star player status and few on regular starter and that helps to keep the squad happy with game time.  In a 60 game season, my top player will only play about 40 games and my least used about 20.

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I run a very short first team, like 12-15 players. I like having a tight-knit small squad. In case of injuries and fatigue, youngsters fill in.

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7 hours ago, FrazT said:

I have always had the philosophy of having a first team squad and rotating regularly assuming that you have at least 2 capable players for each position and that has worked well for many years.  I also try to have no players of star player status and few on regular starter and that helps to keep the squad happy with game time.  In a 60 game season, my top player will only play about 40 games and my least used about 20.

I do this as well but it's painful seeing your best player missing out on top scorer or assist awards because he only started 30 games in the league, for example, meanwhile the winner of the award played all 38 with less goals per minute.

Thinking about it further, superstars like Messi, KDB, Modric  etc tend to play almost every game. Only in the few moments a team is in a luxury situation do they get to sit out a game 

 

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Posted (edited)

Another thing to consider the is that rotation is a motivating tool. If you sit a player for a couple of games and then sub him in, he would usually come back very motivated. You may also drop players after warning them about poor form or lack of goals. Motivation is more important and less visible aspect of rotation than preventing fatigue/injuries.

Edited by nully29
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strongest 11 start every league game/CL knockout fixture if fit

use a shadow 11 in cup and early european ties

have a squad of 23-25 including 3 keepers then try to sell/loan a couple in jan window when i will have less games for the backup players

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Posted (edited)

I try to balance:

o fatigue by looking to play a fresh player in each position if possible;

o overall condition - self expanatory;

o match sharpness by playing players who are losing sharpness; and

o playing time happiness - there's never a problem dropping anybody who is >= very happy

Edited by Hovis Dexter
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I've found I rotate a lot less since they got rid of percentages for condition as I used to be obsessed with playing players with 95% plus condition. This has meant I now operate a squad of 20-23 including young players good enough to start a few games even when in Europe. In smaller leagues I may reduce that to 18 players.  I'm enjoying rotating less if I'm honest as I feel it's much more realistic. 

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One issue with squad rotation which is sometimes overlooked is the squad status of your first team squad.  If you have a lot of star players and regular starters then it is difficult to use a lot of squad rotation as they are all wanting lots of game time.  Get a lot of squad players in and it can be a lot easier to rotate without getting player unhappiness.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, FrazT said:

One issue with squad rotation which is sometimes overlooked is the squad status of your first team squad.  If you have a lot of star players and regular starters then it is difficult to use a lot of squad rotation as they are all wanting lots of game time.  Get a lot of squad players in and it can be a lot easier to rotate without getting player unhappiness.

Good point.  'Squad player' is better and I work to negotiate players down from 'star' or 'important' to 'regular starter' too.  In a crowded schedule, at one position, you can pretty easily satisfy a 'regular starter' and give his reserve 'squad player' time.  Especially if you are rotating 3 players into 2 spots, like CBs.  Also, if you keep 'match sharpness' high among your best reserves, they are more effective as subs.

Is there a certain amount of time that a sub needs to play in a game for it to improve his match sharpness?  To work towards satisfying his playing time expectations?  I think that you need to get him in by 70 in order to generate a match rating - is that right?

Edited by glengarry224
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30 minutes ago, glengarry224 said:

Good point.  'Squad player' is better and I work to negotiate players down from 'star' or 'important' to 'regular starter' too.  In a crowded schedule, at one position, you can pretty easily satisfy a 'regular starter' and give his reserve 'squad player' time.  Especially if you are rotating 3 players into 2 spots, like CBs.  Also, if you keep 'match sharpness' high among your best reserves, they are more effective as subs.

Is there a certain amount of time that a sub needs to play in a game for it to improve his match sharpness?  To work towards satisfying his playing time expectations?  I think that you need to get him in by 70 in order to generate a match rating - is that right?

I may be wrong but I think that only starting a game counts towards game time satisfaction, so bringing a player on as a sub will not help unless that corresponds with his squad status.

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I've noticed a crucial difference now I've been promoted to the Premier League. Having risen from the lower leagues, I've been used to being in so many sucky cups that our schedule has been a relentless 2-games-a-week season in, season out. Originally my squad were part-timers, and when we went full-time the squad was very young, being an Academy Challenge campaign. It means that players simply were not capable of playing more than half the fixtures (goalkeeper excluded). So I had no choice but to have a weekend and a separate midweek squad.

Once in the EFL, the stupid cups disappeared but you still had 46 league fixtures plus cup early rounds - i.e. too many games. In The Championship the cup fixtures got fewer as you entered later, but 46 league matches. However, in the Premier League just now, life in this respect is much easier. The board expects me to win one Carabao Cup game and no FA Cup match. So in theory it's a 41 or at most low 40s-match season. At the same time, my training facilities have improved so much, and I have a staff of Sports Scientists.

The  ironic outcome then, is that when I was poor and had unfit players, I needed a bigger squad. Now I'm rich and have a big squad, I don't need it. I've loaned out 12 players as they won't be needed. If I improve, progress in domestic cups and qualify for Europe, a bigger squad and rotation will be necessary. For most of the matches this season, excepting injuries and suspensions, I have a core first team, 7 subs and 3 more squad members (so a first team squad of 2 players for each outfield position, as has always been the case). The 7 subs and 3 others get some mid-week U23 action to keep them match sharp when necessary.

So I think you have to take specific factors into account to answer this question comprehensively.

 

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, FrazT said:

One issue with squad rotation which is sometimes overlooked is the squad status of your first team squad.  If you have a lot of star players and regular starters then it is difficult to use a lot of squad rotation as they are all wanting lots of game time.  Get a lot of squad players in and it can be a lot easier to rotate without getting player unhappiness.

I think this part is actually pretty unrealistic, because I've been doing this two teams system for years now and I've basically never had star players complain about it or at least I don't remember it happening, maybe it has once or twice. The worst it has gotten in fm21 is the "excpects to start against x because he has been worried about the amount of first team football" note on the "plans" screen. I have this on one of my players right now, but even he hasn't complained and his morale has been very good or better the whole time. Also I've had regular starters and sometimes even star players in my second team happily going along with it...

Edited by Puluzu
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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

I have no choice but to rotate. I'm in my third season with my Brazilian squad and the amount of fixtures are unreal. With the league, continental tournament and nation tournament I have about 2-3 matches every week in my first and second month (Copa America is coming up soon so my players will get a break) of the season. On one hand I got the Sudamerica cup I want to perform well in but 2 days after that  I am coming up against Flamengo in the main leauge so I'm in a weird spot.

This happened by accident but what I do now to handle rotation is I first decide who my main 11 is and save them as Team A, I do the same thing for the next 11 and save them as Team B and then I do one for Team C. The rest get thrown into the Reserves unless I need to call them up. 

I got 33 players in my squad and as much as I'd love to keep playing my Team A it's not possible. Everyone on the squad will get a chance to play, Team C is obviously my weaker team and the real "back up/emergency" team so I try my best not to play their full squad if I don't need to. If they need game time I'll mix them into Team A and B or have them play some reserve matches.

I'll obviously plan this all out and decide who should play where, who should I save for the following week? etc

Edited by Birdman10piyu
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7 hours ago, Birdman10piyu said:

This happened by accident but what I do now to handle rotation is I first decide who my main 11 is and save them as Team A, I do the same thing for the next 11 and save them as Team B and then I do one for Team C. The rest get thrown into the Reserves unless I need to call them up.

I do exactly the same! Also playing in Brazil on FM20 but still in Serie B so fixture congestion not too bad at the moment.

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On 21/05/2021 at 03:05, Peter Morgan said:

I do exactly the same! Also playing in Brazil on FM20 but still in Serie B so fixture congestion not too bad at the moment.

yea it's a bit much. Which team you managing? I started with Operario from Serie B and got them up to Sudamerica and built them up to a be a good contender for the title before I stopped playing that save.

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1 hour ago, Birdman10piyu said:

yea it's a bit much. Which team you managing? I started with Operario from Serie B and got them up to Sudamerica and built them up to a be a good contender for the title before I stopped playing that save.

Ponte Preta. My aim is to make them the dominant force in Brazilian/South American football...I have a very long way to go - ha!

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I usually have 2 players per position plus a few that can play several positions and in fact probably rotate too much to be realistic and I'm never punished for doing so. Star players are happy enough, never receive complains from them and I haven't ever used the player talk to tell them they won't start next game. It should be harder to keep important or star players happy with game time not playing all games, we are not punished enough.

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That's really up to the team / league I am playing on. Also up to which formation I use. Some leagues are more laid back in requirements for subscribing squad members while others are more strict. Anyway, what I figured out to work best in any situation (regardless if you're a title contender or avoiding relegation, in top leagues or lower leagues) is: having 1 goalkeeper + 16 starting players (meaning all those 16 are good enough for starting team) + 2 or 3 veterans (usually a striker and a goakeeper towards the end of their careers, if there's another good veteran for any other position available I'll sign him up). Then it's just a matter of filling in whatever else your squad needs with younger players with good potential.

So I split those 16 starting players in two groups of 8. Each group is completed by my goalkeeper (I avoid rotating goalkeepers as much as possible) + a veteran + a youngster. My formation is usually a 4-3-3 with defensive wingbacks, two hard-working midfielders and two very fast wingers. So positions I left open in rotation is one midfielder and striker. Which are filled by a veteran and/or youngster according to each group.

Of course there are players suspended and/or injured through the season, so some of those starting players will need to play more than others eventually. When that happens and any starting player needs to play 3 matches a week, I make sure he gets no more than 60 minutes per game. Sometimes when facing much weaker teams I'll pick no more than 2 or 3 starting players and fill up with youngsters and a veteran.

For more important/hard matches, I pick 11 of those 16 starting players, place all others in bench and that's it.

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