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  1. It never occured to me that it might be "cheating". I always though it was a reward for using a small first team squad and relying on under-21 players to make up the difference. After all that is the point in the HG rule.
  2. No and no. Yeah that's hugely annoying, but it's all part of the game. My advice is to load up those leagues that produce awesome youngsters but don't allow transfers until the player is 18. Brazil, Turkey etc. And then it's up to you to sign the best. Thanks to my awesome skillz at FM I signed up an amazing young Brazillian fullback when he was sixteen, but he couldn't join me until he was 18. The player developed amazingly at his home club and turned into an awesome fullback within months of joining me. He is 20 now, and is already classed as World Class. It's just a test of your ability. It's a question of your awareness. You can sign them early, they just can't play for you, and sometimes this is actually a benefit to the player in question. Don't hate the game, play the game and enjoy the challenge. Brazil is a cunning nation, it always produces great players yet it has strict rules for transfers. That's not a nightmare scenario, it's an interesting feature of our mutual footballing world. EU nationality =/= Homegrown. Players that have been on your books long enough, even if on loan, will become homegrown. The only benefit to sending players on loan to these countries in realistic terms is if their level of football is sufficient to develop your youngsters, and you have the league on "full realism" or whatever is it called. When it comes to FM quite simply feeder clubs are not well simulated. Simulated well enough so that you can force a player on loan if he agrees but not much else. The way I do it as Man United manager is that the Championship is king for multiple gameplay reasons, it's always fully simulated anyway for a more realistic season, but plays English football etc. etc. etc. However the Championship doesn't have epic reputation and so if my players don't like the Championship I look for the "Premier Division" of other countries that is active but likely has a low Reputation, for example France. Keep the French top division active, find a team that is a bit rubbish but never gets relegated and there is your awesome club that players that refuse the Championship will go to. Another option is to try and strike up close friendships with managers in your own league and then offer out players on loan in the general way. But to be honest I never find this works well. That awesome Chelsea youngster scoring for fun at Bolton just doesn't seem to happen in FM. That's not how Homegrown works, it's not how loaning works either. The absolute key to Homegrown status is realising that if you are asked to name a 25 man squad and you name a 23 man squad, those two spare slots are AUTOMATICALLY home grown. If you need 8 HG players then 6 HG players + 2 spare slots is perfect. And this totally ties into everything I have ever said about "small" robust, functional, logical squads. Never failing the HG requirement + epic youth development because of a small(er) First Team is a mutually reinforcing, and might I say profoundly useful, situation. The truth of your entire post is that the game sets you tasks, it sets you challenges, it sets you stuff you wish was different but isn't. You can either fight against them or you can accept them. But if you are really good at this game you can exploit them all to your advantage. Need a certain level of HG players? Have fewer first teamers and force yourself into using youth. Signed a Brazillian but he can't join you for another two years? That's two years for Darren Gibson to prove his worth. Got yourself a First Team squad that doesn't meet the 25 player rule? Forget about Belgium, send players to France instead. WIN That's all you need to worry about.
  3. That's the basis of my man management techniques. Criticise players when they are not performing to the standard I demand, praise them when they achieve it or surpass it. I don't actually understand the logic behind other approaches. Why would you be nice to someone that doesn't look like he can be bothered? I do understand that some personalities require a different tact and can be quite tricky to man manage, but I personally am not a "softly softly" manager.
  4. While I agree training is linear I am unconvinced that each category has the same effect per attribute regardless of quantity of attributes. If you look at the schedules I produced there were massive differences in the category workload which never corresponded to massive differences in the rate of increase of attributes. My radically unbalanced shedules produced very balanced attribute growth. Indeed some minor mistakes early on in this thread produced some fairly obvious poor results, such as Strength gains for goalkeepers. What I did for FM10 is what SI did for FM11, I balanced the training categories, so that the linear progression could be managed more accurately. Half this thread is now irrelevant for FM11 because the training categories are now +/- one attribute relative to each other. Goalkeeping has been split into two groups and the rest have been reorganised so that the effect of X slider level is now equal across all attributes in all categories. It is X/4 for all, no balancing is required. The assumtpion that X level for all categories has the same overall quantitive effect on all attributes is now true. That is the real major update to training in FM11. After 3-4 releases the basic assumption that everyone starts out with in regards to Training is now true ingame. There should no longer be such things as untrainable goalkeepers which marred every release and training theory over the past three years untill this thread came out.
  5. Well in theory the changes to the number of attributes per category should make downloadable schedules obsolete, but I would definitely expect to see an FM11 Training Thread from me at some point. I can't tell you when though, I'm still playing FM10.
  6. It's not an absolute rule and there will be teams you play against that use a high tempo and are capable of dribbling past your tackles and opening you up so use your judgement. The point I was making is that when the opposition play at a higher tempo they give themselves less time to make good decisions and to execute moves well, giving you more of an opportunity to get your foot to the ball first. In my own save I use light tackling to start a match as the opposition tend to play to timewaste, draw fouls and defend against me. As soon as I score a goal I switch to Hard Tackling as the opponent is going to come and try and get a goal back, which means they will play with a higher tempo and take more risks with their passing. Hard Tackling means not only will I stop the opponent by fair or foul means from getting forward, but I'm going to take more risks with my Tackling at the same time as the opponent is taking more risks with their possession football which should in theory result in a far greater quantity of possession turnovers in my favour. I'm giving examples of how to make your own judgements, not hard and fast rules. You can't base your Tackling strategy purely on Tempo but Tempo is a major factor to take into account when deciding upon your Tackling strategy. What you say above is certainly true but the other side of the coin is that the opponent has more time on the ball to make good choices and execute clean moves, so you might want to get right into their faces. Light Tackling in this context will protect you from being skinned or from being drawn into a foul but maybe the opponent isn't trying to draw fouls and is very poor with the ball when faced with a physical confrontation. With that in mind when facing a good side playing a low-ish tempo you might want to opt for a Light Tackling Strategy for your team, but select Hard Tackling OI's for the main opponent playmaker and the opponent players with poor First Touch and Dribbling. I'm basically trying to tell you to be aware of the Tackling Game, of the very large role your Tackling choice plays in the match. Which choice is "best" depends on a huge quantity of factors, but that aspect of the tactical to-and-fro is very important.
  7. To gain more possession in X system when you have the ball what you want to tweak is Creativity, otherwise known as vision. There are other tactical options you can tweak, tempo for better evaluation of decisions or mentality for reduced passing risk or passing style for an increased bias towards possession, but there is nothing that so vastly improves passing in one fell swoop as Creativity. When it comes to knocking the ball about Creativity utterly demolishes every single other feature/mechanic/attribute in the game as far as I am concerned. To gain more possession in X system without the ball is trickier because there is no sole attribute that has an effect equivalent to Creativity. The key is winning the ball back. The first thing you want is a good shape, and the 4-2-3-1 is not the "big match" formation of choice in the real world by accident. 4-2-3-1 is a great defensive shape. In the context of winning the ball back it allows you to press the ball while still maintaining control of key areas of the pitch. The second is to press well. In the 4-2-3-1 this is near automatic. You don't have to understand the theory behind the 4-2-3-1 to get it to press well, but it helps. The third thing is to play a tackling game that is in tune with the opponent and the ref. This means hard tackling when the ref is lenient or the opponent is playing a quick game that makes demands of their players accuracy and control, or light tackling when the ref is harsh or the opponent is playing to waste time or a game that is easy for their players to receive and to pass. The final thing is the all important, utterly key area of attributes. Anticipation when defending is not up for debate, positioning is crucial, workrate a must. High values for Tackling and Marking can never be over-valued. Acceleration and Strength are huge helps as well. And don't under-estimate how useful a high Jump and accurate Heading can be for turning defence into attack.
  8. I had a look at the demo and I don't think training has really changed much at all. The only real differences being a change in the number of attributes per category. The rest is pretty much a facelift, different looking screens and more preset schedules but not a whole lot else. The match preparation stuff looks like a separate system altogether that just takes up workload.
  9. If he is a natural FC then he will be natural all across the front line and you could play a modified FL role instead of AML. The behaviour of a modified FL role will not be exactly the same as an AML role but there are tools to atleast attempt an approximation. How long it will take to retrain him to FL, or indeed if it is possible to achieve "Natural" depends on his Versatility attribute and the length of time spent playing and training in AML. Very versatile players can do this in a matter of months, less versatile players may not be able to reach "Natural" even after a long period of time. That's much the same as playing him at FL instead of AML. He will be more capable in his "Natural" roles but then his Natural roles may not be tactically ideal. May not produce the kind of tactical behaviour you wish to see, specifically defending and marking down your left flank. The truth is that you are unlikely to get the exact tactical role and behaviour (AML) without some kind of sacrifice of this players overall effectiveness even if he retrains to "Natural AML". It is a juggling act, an issue of judgement and there is no real right or wrong answer to this question. You can try to mould him to fit the team or mould the team to fit him better. I would suggest looking through the tactical threads on asymmetric 4-2-3-1's, such as the Brazilian box or the Spanish 4-2-3-1 type formation of the World Cup. A striker played wide left was a major feature of the World Cup just passed and a major feature of specific matches played by major European Club sides. Your situation as described here sounds like the perfect time and perfect opportunity to start experimenting with formations that have what I call an altered axis of attack. In these systems you need to start thinking of your Wingers/Inside Forwards as your true striker, your actual number 9.
  10. The best answer would be to have as many players as you can comfortably and effectively manage, or want to have around the club. I personally have a first team of 25 players, a reserve team of zero players at the club but with all my loan players sitting in there, and a youth team of around 20 or so players. 51 players at the club not including youth team players seems extremely bloated to me, but that's my opinion. The key things you want to look out for is unhappiness over excessive players, lack of football, the increased risk of personality conflicts, lack of matches and opportunities for players to develop or even maintain their current level. With a bloated reserve team your youth players wont get much chance to experience reserve team football which will stunt their development, and your senior pro's in your first team will also find themselves competing for space and time in the reserves and if their match fitness drops, so does their current level of ability. And then you have the inevitably cost in terms of wages for players doing nothing other than sitting in the reserves. £20k a week wages is a million quid a year, so five players sitting on these wages for five seasons is the price of a top class striker simply wasted. It's up to you how you organise your club, but the way I organise my club is to have no such thing as a reserve team, just a combination of youngsters and first team squad players getting reserve matches, and I use my reserve team as a "store" for all my youngsters out on loan. I would rather have ten youngsters out on loan with the option to recall them than have ten youngsters sitting rotting in the reserves.
  11. I will try not to derail this thread and make this my last answer to this particular question. Speaking from my own experience I would consider Technique to be the trump attribute, the key attribute in Free Kicks. I would also consider Flair to be essential for players to step up and attempt a curling howitzer into the top corner. These two attributes combine to produce a player that is willing and capable to try the kind of freekick capable of beating goalkeepers in FM. Generally those with heaps of pace that swerve into the top corner. The actual Free-Kick attribute in my opinion is of a lesser importance to the above two but still important. With Technique around 18, and Flair above 15, then any double figures Free Kick attribute should give you some return, with an increasing return as the Free Kick Attribute increases. Lacking Technique and Flair however will almost inevitably see the ball hitting the wall regularly irrespective of Free Kick Accuracy. It is much the same as the Longshots attribute. You have a player with high Longshots and so his Longshots are more and more accurate, but Technique, Flair and Composure make them better struck, and more difficult to save. Lampard in FM has a rather low longshots attribute you would think at first glance, and yet is highly lethal from range because of his Composure and Technique. A calm, composed player hitting a very well struck shot does not need to stick it into the top corner to score, he can fire it past goalkeepers at speed. So generally speaking when you are looking for a very well struck shot you are looking for Technique and Composure. When you are looking for an accurate shot you are looking at the relevant Shooting Attribute, Freekicks/Longshots/Finishing etc. When you are looking for a shot that is difficult for the keeper to reach due to the trajectory of the ball then you are looking for Flair. Technique+Composure+Flair contribute a huge amount to the "components" of any shot, but you will still need to be reasonably accurate if you don't want your howitzer style thunderbolt or 20 yard top corner curler or delicate edge of the box chip to slide wide of the post. I am glad I could be of help. I would say here that you should look at the lessons you learned when beating the lesser teams in the previous division on your way to promotion. Particularly the teams you played last season that had just been promoted themselves. Irrespective of how you approach the next season in terms of style, philosophy, offensive aggression etc. It will absolutely vital to make your team difficult to beat. You will very likely be playing against superior players that are looking to attack you and while you don't necessarilly have to adopt a "9+1" system on the edge of your box, you do have to understand that giving the opponent space, time, and worst of all giving them the ball is going to play directly in their favour. There are several ways to play football as the underdog. There is the counter-attack approach where you defend deep with numbers and attempt to catch the opponent under-manned at the back with quick and direct counter-attacking play. There is the "bring the game to them" approach where you effectively counter the opponents attempt to exploit space and play football by playing an aggressive, tight, dense block of players further up the pitch trying to disrupt play from a more central position than they operate in forcing them to try and play around you where they have less numbers while you have much greater strength through the middle and can win the ball quickly and release it quickly to your forwards. And then there is the "strangle" approach where you play deeper, narrower with plenty of hard tackling, timewasting, man marking key players with your more advanced players and then when you win the ball back you keep it and play very conservative passing football making them chase the ball, and slowly work your way up the pitch where you only play a risky ball when there is a glorious opportunity to get a striker through on goal. Whether you play defensive, counter-attacking, or a more aggressive attacking game is up to you, but as the underdog the key element of your tactical design must be to control the middle of the pitch and deny the opponent space and time on the ball in the most dangerous areas, which ultimately means the centre of the pitch. And I would also advise you to invest in good defenders. If you can dominate the centre of the pitch and force the opponent wide or to try and play over the top then defenders that are dominant in the air and capable of holding a good line are worth their weight in gold. It is very likely that to stay in the division and do well in the division in your first season that you will need to become adept at all of these approaches. There will be teams you can take points off by playing the more aggressive but narrow and tight "slugfest" style through the middle, but there will be teams where you simply cannot leave any space in behind, nor can beat through the middle and these teams you may have to counter-attack, and then there will be the top quality teams in the division where your only realistic hope is to make sure you keep the ball as long as possible. And study the opposition. If you can spot a weak player in their side, say a slow rightback or an aerially weak leftback, then exploit them. Set your attacking players up to exploit any and all weaknesses you can spot. Do that and you will have much more ability to score goals from a defensive base than simply playing blindly in attack.
  12. For Natural Fitness I have never once seen an example of it increasing. Ever. I saw it decrease once in my own saves in the past 2 years and that was after a player of mine sustained repeated long term injuries immediately after recovering from the previous. In other words the only time I have ever seen NF change is once when a player of mine missed almost an entire year of football. If NF were trainable then regardless of how high/low the intensity of Strength Training is, it would change regularly. Maybe not regularly in the same player but there would be noticeable improvements or declines across a squad. NF though is by far the most unchanging attribute in all of my saves, having seen it change precisely once in two years. As for Set Pieces in Goalkeepers, it is possible to train a Goalkeeper in Free-Kicks or Penalties but these attributes only govern the accuracy of the Free-Kick or Penalty so there is usually no point whatsoever training these. For categories such as Defending, Attacking, Shooting they do nothing for a goalkeeper. Goalkeepers do not improve outfield technical attributes. The Goalkeeping Technical attributes are frozen in place for outfield players, and the outfield Technical attributes barring only one or two examples are likewise frozen in place for Goalkeepers.
  13. Technique is extremely important when it comes to Free-kicks, and very often your back room staff will recommend a player that does not have the highest free-kick attribute but has high technique for this very reason. The reason technique is important is because the "Free-Kick" attribute defines the accuracy of the final position of the ball, defines how close the player will get the ball to his target, but technique defines the ability to execute curling or swerving or dipping or thunderbolt shots. Players with high Technique will be able to chip the ball over the wall and then have it dip and curl into the top corner. A player with low technique will only be able to batter the shot straight at the top corner. So when choosing free-kick takers, or any set-piece taker, keep the distinction in mind. The specific attribute governs the final accuracy of the ball but the Technique attribute governs the danger/threat/quality of the actual delivery. This is the same for Free-Kicks as much as for Crosses or any other form of delivery and is really worth looking at whenever you rely on "X" form of delivery. Technique matters every time someone strikes a ball. For example: A player with 20 passing can aim right at his target all the time, but with low technique the pass can only be straight and along the ground. With 20 for technique it can be both curled around a player and chipped over defenders heads. The player with 20 technique is therefore much more capable of delivering a trully dangerous pass than the player with low technique, because he can deliver a pass that takes opponents out of the game even if they are in the way. Precisely the same matters for crosses, and every other time a ball is kicked. It is in my opinion quite important to take this attribute into account. There is very little in this game to my knowledge that relies solely upon a single attribute. Even a penalty kick takes into account a lot of different factors for a player.
  14. It's hidden. The Free Role attribute could work exactly the same as other position attributes and reduce a players mental attributes or CA or whatever else might occur when playing a player out of position. But because it is an actual attribute then it will directly define something. Either accuracy/quality at exploiting space or the players overall ability when in a "Free Role".
  15. No. I am very interested to see how SI have managed to add "Tactical Preparation" to training. I commented before that I thought the only way without radically adapting huge areas of the game would be to artificially boost specific attributes which might lead to exploitable gameplay behaviour. I have no input nor knowledge whatsoever of how this was done, and I am looking forward to finding out. It is certainly a very "realistic" thing to attempt, but how realistic it is in terms of gameplay and the currently existing game mechanics is something I wait to see. That is absolutely correct. It is something I mentioned previously. There is a greater achievable "difference in extremes" when boosting the Attacking category compared to boosting the Aerobic category. If Attacking is set at notch 2 to train each attribute at "1 notch worth training" then you can boost each Aerobic attribute to "4 notch worth training" relative to attacking. So you can train Aerobic attributes at 4x attacking attributes. If you do it the other way and set Aerobic to notch 5 for "1 notch worth training each attribute" then you can boost each attacking attribute to 12.5 notch worths of training. That is three orders of magnitude greater and explains precisely why training is so damn difficult to get right. It's just not balanced. This is applied after training. Once my attacking attributes have increased because they are accidently being trained 3x faster, my Aerobic attributes decline to make up the difference. I must say that there is possibly a balance between CA weight and Attribute per Category, I hadn't actually considered it untill now. Thanks for these questions. They have opened up an avenue for investigation I hadn't previously considered.
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