So, with everything covered up to this point, it’s probably time to play a match.
The Match Centre will be accessible prior to every single fixture from the foot of the sidebar and will allow you to plan ahead in a number of ways, beginning the serious preparation with the Pre-Match Briefing. The number of days remaining before your match are indicated within the icon itself.
On/before the day of your upcoming match, you’ll have the opportunity to sit down with your players and prepare them for the task at hand. The focus of this briefing is to emphasise the particulars of your intended tactical approach to the preliminary match squad by going through a process very similar to a team talk.
Topics are divided into a range of areas including Tactics, Team and Player Instructions, Match Squad, and Opposition Instructions, and will be populated with the most common/sensible suggestions for each match situation. Selecting any one of them will present you with a pop-up displaying basic information about the topic as well as a number of statements to issue to the players.
In having the chance to explain your decisions to the squad in advance, you’re able to see how well received they are, and in turn have the opportunity to make further adjustments to your plans before kick-off so as to ensure you’re as prepared as possible.
The first stage of a match day is the Pre-Match Preview. All necessary information pertaining to the upcoming fixture is laid out on screen in front of you to leave you suitably prepared for the occasion.
Before you submit your team it is advisable to make a few checks and observations. The information made available to you on this screen indicates which players are unavailable from each team for the match, as well as the referee and weather, and details of historic records between the sides. Take this all into account when settling on the team you’re putting out. Consider whether you’re at home or away, your respective records, and indeed the opposition’s.
Once you’re happy with the team for the match, click the ‘Submit Team’ button to Continue the game and advance to the pre-match build-up.
Once the teams are in they’ll be shown to you on the Team Sheet screen as the stands begin to fill up. Then it’s back into the changing room for some last-minute Opposition Instructions and the pre-match team-talk before fielding a question or two from the press in the tunnel as you head out to the touchline.
The team talk is your final chance to talk to your players before kick-off, a chance to give them some final instructions and words of wisdom. What you say to them now can have a massive effect on what happens over the next 45 minutes, so choose wisely.
As is the case with all interactive comments, you can assert your choice of tone over the squad. From the ‘Overall Team Talk’ panel, select a tone and appropriate comment before confirming it.
You will receive feedback on what you’ve had to say in the ‘Reaction’ column, whilst a member of your backroom staff will offer their opinion on how to approach the team talk.
You can set an overall team talk to the entire squad, or talk to each player individually, or a mixture of both. Alternatively, you can have your Assistant Manager take the team talk.
The Match Screen
The match screen has a number of different views, all available from the Menu Bar, and a number of different items you can interact with during the match.
The menu options are as follows:
The Pitch View takes you to a match screen designed specifically for the 3D match view. The primary and majority focus on the screen is, as you’d expect, on the pitch and what’s going on. The scoreboard is to the very top of the screen, and below in the action bar are a number of match day options designed to make your visual and managerial experience easier. For example, the ‘Settings’ button allows you to configure the Match Speed, Highlights, Cameras and Replays amongst other items.
The icon with a pop-up window displayed within allows you to select any number of the items usually found on the tabs menu and display them as a pop-up box in the Pitch view. These are all completely free to be positioned anywhere on the screen and can be closed at the click of the ‘x’ button towards the top right of each widget.
Throughout the course of the match you will be able to make quick tactical adjustments on the fly from the ‘Tactics menus at the top of the screen.
Along the top of the screen is the match time bar, which will log moments of note and incident for quick reference when playing the match back.
Use this menu as your shortcut to make any necessary tactical changes. For more information on Tactics please click here.
The Analysis section allows you to break down all of the match stats as well a number of incidents. Select different events to see them appear on the pitch graphic.
Get the latest event updates and latest scores from elsewhere on this screen.
Using the match speed slider, the manager can also toggle whether replays are on or not and the saturation of highlights they receive. If you’re ambitious and have some time on your hands you can view the ‘entire’ match (note, this is not actually 90 minutes), extended highlights, just the key events, or none at all and watch the game with just commentary text.
The ‘Camera’ option presents a list of different views from which the match can be watched. From here, you may also configure whether replays are shown or not, whether sound is on or off as well as toggle the speed of the match action, and the saturation level of highlights shown.
During play, a series of informative notifications will pop up on the screen as part of the Match Feed. This can range from key events in the match you’re watching to events elsewhere and advice from your assistant manager. The full range of notifications can be toggled from the ‘Match Feed Settings’ button found within the ‘Match Feed’ itself.
Once you’re happy, kick off!
At half and full time you will have the opportunity to offer a team-talk to your players. The half time team-talk will generally be about what has happened in the first half and what you expect to happen in the second half, whilst the full-time one will be of a reactionary nature to the result. As with your pre-match team-talk, take care in what you say to your players as it can have a strong effect on how they handle things from that moment on, particularly half-time team-talks.
If, at the end of the match, you wish to save it for later viewing in the external match viewer (available from the ‘View Match’ option on the Start Screen), click ‘Save Match’ from the ‘Match Controls’ menu and you will be prompted to save the match .pkm file to My Documents\Sports Interactive\Football Manager 2018\matches.
Edited by Philip Rolfe