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SFraser

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  1. I agree with your general point but I think that there is more than one way to skin this particular cat. And there is anecdotal evidence to back up this particular line of discussion even if not to prove it. While it is entirely valid to go down the route of refusing to sign individuals that don't speak the same language to avoid any settling in problems, I have seen plenty of evidence to support the opposite approach. The opposite approach would be constructing a highly "multicultural" or "metropolitan" club where there is one common language but there is also large numbers of people speaking many other languages as well. Clearly this is only going to be an approach open to a few clubs in the entire game but I have reason to believe this approach actually works to reduce "settling in" problems. I will explain my reasoning. 1: Everyone will have seen the "new signing press conference" question where the journalist asks you if not speaking the common language will be a problem, and then asks if X player who speaks the new signings language will be used to help out. This indicates two things. One that languages actually matter and probably matter a lot. Two that other people in your club that speak a similar language to a new signing can help him settle. 2: My own "Domestic Player Bias" manager stat is a princely 2. This again means several things, one that I buy a lot of "foreign" players and two that I keep a lot of "foreign" players. In the five seasons of my save that it has taken me to achieve this might "2" rating I have never once had a problem with a player being unable to settle, regardless of who I bought and quite clearly I must buy a vast majority of non-domestic players. Either I am exceptionally lucky in always buying players that find it easy to settle in a foreign country, or the vast amount of foreign languages spoken at my club make it significantly easier for players to settle at my club. I think the latter is the more likely.
  2. I think that is true but I also think it is much deeper than that. Not only do staff members from different nationalities carry particular styles but they also seem to carry particular "stereotypical" abilities. Also a staff members playing career seems to have a significant impact on the style of football they prefer to play. I will give you a couple of examples: The Italians at my club almost all tend to be very tactically aware, whereas all the Scots at my club seem to be good at Motivating and Man Management. Some individuals buck these trends, but I can see a trend in my club. This may not be indicative across the entire game, it might be a "fluke" but it does seem quite remarkable. Of the players that have retired from the playing staff at my club and have joined the coaching staff at my club, all of them prefer to use 4-4-2 which is no surprise playing first under Alex Ferguson and then myself in the English Premier League. Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes both prefer to play an aggressive attacking 4-4-2 with high closing down and mixed marking. Gary Neville prefers a cautious 4-4-2 with mixed pressing and man marking. Edwin van der Sar prefers a cautious 4-4-2 with mixed pressing and zonal marking. Edwin van der Sar is a 4 star Goalkeeping Coach, Neville is a 4 star defending coach, Giggs is a 4 star ball control coach, Scholes is a 4 star attacking coach. This is pretty spectacular when you think about it. Players directly translate into coaches in multiple ways. Not only does player ability reflect coaching ability but player ability and player experience and player position also translates into preferred playing styles. The coaches that were once my most defensive players all opt for defensive variations of the systems they played under and played against most often, while the attacking players opt for the attacking approach. Not only that but the particular style of the attacking or defensive version reflects their own personal tastes. Neville opts for a pure man marking system, van der Sar for a pure zonal marking system but both like to keep mixed closing down, whereas both Scholes and Giggs opt for high pressing and mixed marking, reflecting their personal knowledge of the defensive game (i.e. minimal so put the opponent under pressure). However it is in the Italians at my club, again, that I see the most "inventive" styles of football. Instead of a clear and obvious defensive or attacking approach to 4-4-2 my Italian assistant manager prefers an ultra cautious 4-4-2 with high pressing in a zonal marking system. This is not the "back off and defend the zones" of van der Sar or the "pressure and attack" of Scholes, it is a "sit deep and pressure" 4-4-2 style that I don't see in any of my English or Scottish First Team Coaches. The only coach that I can see, at a cursory glance through my staff list, that departs from the 4-4-2 trend is my recently signed Italian Youth Coach. He prefers a 4-3-3 and was poached from an Italian club where he worked under a manager that preferred the formation 4-3-1-2. I think that there is certainly a lot in this area of the game. Selecting Youth/Reserve Team managers whose style more reflects your own style of play is likely to give much better clues as to how players will perform in your First Team Squad.
  3. In terms of Coaching alone, no. One specialised coach per training category plus an Assistant strong in man management and motivating involved in all coaching categories is something I would consider "optimal". However you didn't mention Backroom Advice nor Youth and Reserve Team Management. If I was setting up a group of backroom staff (and had heaps of cash and a high rep club) I would want to maximise these areas as well. Even if I don't particularly follow all backroom advice, if I am going to be getting it anyway I would want it to be good. So here is how I would work it: Coaches. The primary aim of coaches is to train. Their advice is a bonus. Assistant. Yours is already high in Man Management, and likely also Squad Management Advice. His role is motivating players during training. Youth/Reserve Managers. This leaves essentially two jobs and four areas of Backroom Advice, or two Areas of Backroom Advice per job. I would specifically head-hunt "experts" in Tactical, Recruitment, Training and Youth Development advice and install these people as my Youth and Reserve Managers. Clearly these individuals are likely to cost a lot of money as you will want them to offer the best advice while also being highly effective at actually managing a football match. So simply by adding to your backroom staff by an additional two extremely good coaches you can be confident of not only nailing the training side, but also the advice and youth/reserve team management side. If you can't find the perfect individuals then you may want to hire a few more coaches but ideally the overall "optimal" backroom staff should look something like this: Assistant : Skilled in Man Management/Squad Management (ideally, but others may have different needs). Reserve Team Manager : Skilled in Tactics and Perhaps Recruitment. Youth Team Manager : Skilled in Training, Youth Development. First Team Coaches for all Categories. Youth Team Coaches for all Categories.
  4. Indeed. 20 for every stat would remove all the individuality of "strength v weakness" in players and therefore remove about 90% of the game as I play it. This game is first and foremost all about players. Their individual strengths and weaknesses on the pitch, their mentality and character, but most of all about how you develop and build a relationship and utilise these radically different players. Remove individuality and uniqueness, make it possible to develop all players to CA 200 or stat level 20 and you remove everything that makes characters in this game interesting. That is the very fact they are not all the same.
  5. It's not that much of a difference. I still have my ass man + two General Coaches covering all areas of training as Motivators, but the difference this time is that I am keeping proven coaches purely to coach First Team training and using my Youth Team training areas as a place to "test out" and develop unproven coaches. So last season while I had say three staff members involved in all areas, I still have three. Last season my single Ball Control coach took both First Team and Youth Team training, this season I have two Ball Control coaches, one is established and doing First Team training, the other is young and developing and looks like he has potential and is taking Youth Team training. This minor detail means several things. First workload is reduced for each specific coach, second I always have a backup available if someone pinches a coach, third I am in control of the future development of my backroom staff. I can plan and plot and develop future First Team coaches from within my own ranks. This is where I sign the recently retired Gary Neville and plant him to do some training work. If he accepts a youth team coach role I have to pay him less and I can keep an eye on him to see if he develops as a coach. If he turns out to be rubbish, well that little experiment costs me less wages and I can replace him with whoever retires next.
  6. Heaths point here is crucial. The fundamental barrier to performance in Lower Leagues is a players Mental state and his confidence rather than his ability. Clearly ability is important, but in the lower leagues the reduced average level of Personality Attributes means that all players are significantly more temperamental and teams very rarely respond to events as a unit. Likewise the reduced average level of Personality Attributes means that negative responses to events are in much greater abundance. In the lower leagues not buckling under pressure is equal to a Premier League team becoming highly motivated when conceding a goal. In the lower leagues a players theoretical ability that can be seen in his attribute profile is vastly modified by the vast range and temperamental nature of lower league players. A top quality Lower League side in terms of attribute panel ability can quite easilly collapse utterly in terms of Motivation and receive a hefty thrashing. This simply does not happen at the top of the game. Developing a players Mental Strength not only helps him perform closer to his ability, it also helps to stabilise your team in the face of "mental pressures" like away games or going a goal down. It helps you to adequately man manage players and get the response you desire from them. It stops Centrebacks from becoming utter hazards and nightmarishly bad simply because the opposition fluked a lucky goal. Developing a players Mental Strength is a major asset to any player at any level, and I believe it functions the same at all levels of the game. Developing a players playing Attributes is however a completely different kettle of fish. There is a "triangle of player development" as I call it, these are multiplicative factors that determine the rate at which a player improves his attributes. The triangle is Personality x Match Experience x Level of Football. By definition Lower League Football is a vastly reduced level of football, and this has the multiplicative effect of vastly reducing the growth of player attributes. And this vastly reduced level of growth in the Lower Leagues due to Level of Football cannot be avoided. It can be slightly mitigated by maximising Personality and Match Experience but these are not additive factors, they are multiplictive factors and so maximum growth rate in Lower Leagues is several orders of magnitude less than at the highest level. It's a gameplay mechanic, there is no working around it so long as the player plays for you and you play in the Lower Leagues. This grinding prison of development that is Lower League Football has two clear implications: 1: Cup Competitions are now twice or three times more valuable to your players than your previous view of sheer financial gain. Not only are Cup Competitions themselves viewed as a "Higher Competition" than your Blue Square North league, but you can achieve a double whammy of player development greatness by drawing yourself an away game to Manchester United. The Reputation of the FA Cup combined to the Reputation of Manchester United means your players suddenly find themselves playing at a Level Of Football that is some of the highest possible in England and for that one match your players will receive the same development boost (or even higher) than any Premier League Team achieves in a single match. It might not be much on it's own, it might not even show up in some players, and if it does it might only be a single extra green arrow, but if you can do this a few times throughout the entire career of some protege you have developed since his birth then you will reap the rewards. It's lower league football, scratching for the crumbs of the footballing world is what you do. So make sure you heed my advice and scratch for these crumbs too. 2: Developing a players Personality becomes all the more important. Not only to milk every meagre drop of Attribute growth you can from your sterile surroundings, but particularly because attribute growth doesn't really work down here. Developing a players Mental State is the only real "proactive" thing you can do to literally improve a player, other than become a mastermind at cup runs. Developing a players Personality is a fiddly, slightly counter-intuitive and slightly complex issue. As far as I can tell there is no Age limit for Mentoring a player. In my Manchester United save I have the 26 year old Aguero Mentoring the 24 year old Pjanic. If there is an age limit it's not very low. What does most definately, absolutely, certainly matter is that the Mentor is viewed as a better player than the Mentored. To Mentor a player the Mentor simply must have a higher reputation than the player to be mentored. If not, then the potential mentor wont show up. And what else most definately, absolutely, centrainly matters is that the Mentoring works, and the only way it works is if the Mentored player either Respects the Mentor or can relate to the Mentor. What this means in FM terms is that a Mentor must either be someone the Mentoree likes, has a good relationship with, views as favoured personell OR has a Personality that is relatively similar to the Mentoree. If you try to Mentor a light hearted player with a Leader you will fail, there is far too big a Personality difference and their personalities will clash. One is a happy go lucky chap with smiles and cheerfullness aplenty, the other is a footballing Warrior of steel, it simply aint happening unless the footballing warrior of steel is the happy chaps Idol. While this is the closest thing I can get to a "scratch every inch of possible development out of the lower league sand" type post, keep in mind that it wont always work. Sometimes you will find awkward players that annoy everyone with their arrogance and this means you can't find an idol and trying to pair them up with someone in a similar mental state is likely to end in violence, or more likely angry text messages and both players refusing to train. Keep in mind what level of football you are playing at when it comes to developing youngsters. It's not your fault their attributes don't go up. By the same token attribute increases in Lower League Football is significantly less influential precisely because so many players are gibbering mental wrecks. Improving a players Mental State is not only the equivelant of +1 to all attributes, it also helps to prevent your team from collapsing under pressure when the tea lady shoots a harsh look at them. That said I haven't spent a significant amount of time playing Lower League Football. It is a good challenge, but the football isn't as nice to watch.
  7. It's not the most utterly vital topic in the world and it is a topic that regularly gets discussed anyway so alot of people will be comfortable in how they train these PPM's, but I wanted to give my 2 cents on this topic based on my experience of using these PPM's for different players playing in different roles. The general concensus is that with lower Finishing accuracy, blasting the ball is more likely to beat the goalkeeper. With higher Finishing placing the ball is more likely to find a corner the goalkeeper can't reach. That's a completely sound point of view. However I think that there is more tactical depth that can be drawn out of these PPM's. I believe that to get maximum results from use of these PPM's within tactics it is vitally important to consider a players position as well as his ability. No Keeper In The World Would Have Saved That Shot! That's what you get with "Shoots With Power" and it says a lot. What it says is that within a reasonable distance, if this player can get the ball between the sticks and somewhere other than straight at the goalkeeper then it is hitting the back of the net. Anyone that has ever kicked a ball knows that hitting a ball with power reduces accuracy. It's a great way to score penalties, it's an extremely difficult way of scoring from the corner of the box. My point here is that while a player that blasts the ball has a slightly increased risk of missing, a player that shoots from central positions has a much higher chance of hitting the target than a player that shoots from wide. A player that shoots with power has a much higher chance of scoring if the ball is on target. Excellent finishers that play centrally and close to goal are much more likely to score if they shoot with power. Their chance of missing is slightly increased, their chance of beating the goalkeeper is hugely increased. For full chances, half chances, or complete snapshot chancer chances in a reasonably central position, if your player is a decent finisher and shoots with power then it is very likely to go in. Think Alan Shearer. He Showed You Don't Have To Blast The Ball! Scoring a goal is ultimately about putting the ball in the net. Putting the ball in the net requires accuracy to get it between the sticks, and enough pace on the shot so that it beats the goalkeeper. When close to goal and with a good angle power is king. When faced with a difficult angle and at a bit of range then what is needed is accuracy. Power will make the already increased risk of missing even higher due to the angle. And due to the angle there are only a few places the ball can go to beat the goalkeeper anyway, because he will naturally "cover the angles". When approaching a goalkeeper at an angle he has the maximum level of advantage. Both sides of the goal are vastly reduced in size compared to his size and position. The actual availability of goalscoring areas is tiny. This requires not simply accuracy to score, but a shot that uses the instep to curl the ball because a goalkeeper can easilly reach a straight shot aiming at uncovered corners. Further, when the ball has been played across the box quickly to someone lurking at the back post, catching the keeper out and presenting a goal on a plate, what you want is not a power shot but a carefully aimed and accurate shot into the net. The goalkeeper will never reach it and it is highly unlikely to miss. "Places Shots" is for players that regularly get into goalscoring positions but from awkward angles or at the back post. Conclusions While you can base the PPM's "Shoots With Power" and "Places Shots" on Finishing accuracy, my point is that to fully take advantage of these PPM's and of players in certain roles is to base these PPM's on the positions payers regularly take up. Players that regularly get into the box in a central position should be considered for "Shoots With Power". Players that regularly get into the box in wide positions should be considered for "Place Shots". Players that regularly shoot from outside the box should be considered for "Shoots With Power". This is not an absolute rule, it is an additional and important factor for you to consider when dealing with players that regularly hit shots.
  8. As I sit here playing through my clubs Pre-Season, I though this would be the ideal time to discuss setting up your backroom staff. This Pre-Season I have decided to overhaul my backroom staff, having recently lost a good coach to another club and having left them alone more or less for the past few seasons. Much of what I write here is speculation, but speculation based on the assumption that the huge quantities of information involved in backroom staff must mean something. It is possible that a lot of the ideas I put forward in this thread don't actually work ingame, but based on what I see ingame I am confident they do work, and if they do work then brilliant. Either way if you follow the advice in this thread you can be confident of having a well organised, well structured, well set up backroom team. The Panel As far as I am concerned "the panel" is the holy grail of backroom staff info. If a staff member can offer up awesome advice on Man Management and Training then logically he must be a good Man Manager and Trainer. While this panel says "advice" you should take it to equal "ability" and this is what I do. What this means is that you can see in a glance the rough quality of a staff member, the end result of the relationship between his attributes. Turn your screen to this panel and use the left and right arrows to cycle between staff members and you can see the true strengths and weaknesses of all the staff at your club in a flash. "The Panel" is the greatest tool you have for developing and improving your backroom staff, it should quickly become your best friend and a point of regular reference for this part of the game. What's more, you can see this panel for prospective staff members. Got a chap in mind for your Ass Man? Make sure you check out The Panel before you sign him. Backroom Advice While The Panel says "backroom advice" the truth of the matter is twofold: first The Panel reflects ability and secondly Backroom advice will often consist of a single piece of advice based on two or more of these general abilities. Club Players knowledge is obviously a key ability to give accurate Man Management or Squad Management advice, likewise with accurate Mentoring advice. This means it is wise to look for abilities in The Panel that are mutually beneficial. Club Players Knowledge + Recruitment, Squad Management + Man Management, Recruitment + Tactical, Tactical + Club Players Knowledge + Squad Management and so on. A trully crucial issue in Backroom Advice is that the best man for the job gives the advice while the Ass Man or second best man gives his opinion on the advice. This means that some obscure foreign Youth Set Piece coach on £750 a week at Manchester United could well pop up with a Tactical Observation that is the key to beating Chelsea away from home. It also means the manager of Manchester United should not just be looking for awesome Coaches to train his players, but awesome Coaches that each have an additional area of expertise for backroom advice. This is a key issue and I will give it more attention further on. First Team Coach, Coach, Youth Team Coach What is the difference between these roles? A First Team Coach only works with first team players, a Youth Team Coach only works with youngsters, a Coach can work with all players. And so can your Ass Man. What are the ingame features that correspond to this difference? Working With Youngsters attribute and Coach Workload. The existence of the Youth Team Coach role and Working with Youngsters attribute clearly points to the fact that this matters. So I assume it does. It might not, I can't prove it, but the evidence points in that direction so I follow it. Likewise with the First Team Coach. There is a crucial issue that defines how I use these roles. Coaches and Staff can develop like players. They have CA and PA and seem to develop according to the roles you give them. With all this in mind my strategy is as follows: The most important thing bar none in your job is the First Team. A Youth Team can be awesome but never at the expense of your First Team. The best coaches in my club are those taking my individual First Team Training and they are First Team coaches and I do not share them with the Youth Team. The Youth Team coaches are all excellent at working with youngsters. This is a given, they are all also as good as I can find at training the different areas of the game. Most importantly though they are all young and cheap to employ, I am developing my Youth Team Staff for future excellence like I would develop a Youth Team Player. My Coaches are people not quite good enough to take First Team Coaching, but I am keeping them around the club. They may be able to offer great advice, or they may be developing still, or perhaps they are a Youth Team or Reserve Team Manager. These Coaches involve themselves in Youth Team and First Team coaching to reduce the Workload experienced by my key coaches. Simple, but highly effective. Youth/Reserve Team Manager These Staff Members are the ones that manage your Youth Team and Reserve Team matches. There are two key points here: Good results improve your players, Experience improves your Staff Members. Taking the Youth or Reserve Team is the fastest way to develop your Staff Members. This gives the average FM manager a headache, but it gives the good FM manager another exciting and interesting area of management. The below average FM manager isn't even remotely bothered about this, probably unaware of it. In my personal backroom staff strategy this is the ideal way to boost General Coaches into the realms of First Team coaching, or on the contrary with a great intake of youth it is the time for my Ass Man to step in and make sure these players develop as good as possible under his expert guidance. My strategy here is again simple: Because staff members have long careers as staff the odd season off here and there from maximum development hardly matters. Therefore with an average Youth Team I give these staff members control and with an epic Youth Team I switch control to my best match winner. Pay a bit of attention to what is happening at your club, and make it simple for yourself. Is this current youth team something you gain the most from by developing your staff or by developing the players? Keep in mind that the developing staff should one day be boosting your First Team which is the utter core of your job. Random Musings/Assumptions This is the part where I speculate wildly but also describe some of the deeper strategies I employ when building my backroom staff. A club that laughs together wins together. When working with mates you respect you enjoy work better and follow their instructions better. Training Star level only controls speed of category change. These three rather wild assumptions form the core of my backroom staff recruitment strategy. Despite being a Manchester United manager this could easilly be called "The Liverpool Way" or perhaps more accurately the Shankly way. My strategy is that Man Management and Motivation in staff members is crucial to maintaining and even improving player morale as they train. Likewise a well trained 4 star training squad being trained by their favoured personell will train better and perform better than a poorly trained 5 star squad trained by Ogres. Morale on a match by match basis is infinately superior to Training on a match by match basis. Over the long term yes Training matters, but in the short term Morale and Man Management is equal only to Tactics. Therefore my backroom staff strategy is to sign the coaches and staff with the best Motivation and Man Management ratings alongside their training ability, ideally to sign the best of my ex-players as coaches even if their training ability is less than perfect. So long as they have good Man Management and Motivating I would rather have 4 star Giggs, Scholes and Neville training my first team than 5 star random others. So long as the star ratings only affect speed of change then I can easilly control the training effect of my staff, but I can never a sign a Coach that half my First Team has as favoured personell. I will easilly sacrifice a training star or two to have a club legend training players effectively rather than perfectly, because I believe Favoured Personell matters in terms of Morale. Ofcourse, in FM10 atleast, all retiring players have a Staff CA of 130 which is horrific, thus your retired players have to be specialist to be useful at all. Conclusion While star level in training matters, if you can build good schedules with your coach training ability in mind then I don't think star level matters that much. On the other hand hopefully I have shown that you backroom staff is significantly more important than considering star ratings. Backroom staff is a nice and deep part of this awesome game. Not the deepest and most mind bending but deep enough. And hopefully this thread has shown that doesn't require epic complexity to make the most of all the options Staff Members may offer, it just requires a bit of attention to detail and some fairly logical thinking. It's not hard to set up your backroom staff to the best of all possible outcomes, indeed those that love this game should enjoy it. Try it for yourself and let me know how you get on. And never forget "The Panel".
  9. For my 4-2-3-1 formation I tweak all the instructions for my roles barring the 20 notch sliders, so I can use the different match strategies to adjust global mentality, closing down, passing directness etc. to affect general aggressiveness of my football without disturbing my specific preferred style and preferrered tactical options. The AM is without a doubt the key to this formation. Player choice can have a radical influence on the type of performance from your AM and therefore the entire style and pattern of your attacking play. In my experience the most crucial element in the game for a player in the AM slot to perform as a focal point of the attack is his Teamwork attribute. High Teamwork is what distinguishes a builder and constructor of team moves from a mere Second Striker. Clearly closely related to this is Creativity, a players ability to see options. Regardless of Tactical Instructions, high Creativity and high Teamwork is what produces the core ability of a Playmaker. I had great success playing Berbatov behind Rooney in a 4-2-3-1. Berbatov has the abilities of a playmaker and a forward while Rooney is slightly more biased towards being a Striker. The combinations of Teamwork between these two players produced excellent link up play and for several seasons they sliced defences apart. The instructions I use for my AMC are the Attacking Midfielder Attack role, giving high levels of Mentality and Creative Freedom with Mixed Passing, in conjunction to these I use the instructions RFD Mixed, RWB Mixed, Long Shots Rare, TTB Mixed, Crossing Rare and Roaming ticked. This effectively gives my AMC the instructions make runs when it is a good option and to balance throughballs and dribbiling with a normal passing game. In short I give my AMC the freedom to make the best options according to his abilities and I restrict none of his Creativity. If he thinks a chipped throughball is the right option, I don't tell him otherwise. This "theory" of balancing options to enable players to play according to their intelligence is something that applies throughout my entire side. The only instructions I move away from Mixed are those instructions my players are poor at such as Crossing because my side is not the best at crossing and is poor in the air upfront. My striker, wingers and AMC all have RFD Mixed, TTB Mixed, RWB Mixed and huge quantities of Creative Freedom. This style of play requires particular players, players with Creativity, Flair, Decisions, Teamwork, Off The Ball and plenty of technical accuracy. It produces some immense attacking play, but rarely of an individual variety. I rely upon the ability of my players to open up teams with passing and movement throughout my attacking unit. The right AMC is crucial. He is the fulcrum of this play and should be blessed with immense levels of Creativity, Teamwork, Decisions, Flair. Since Berbatov has started to decline I have opted for Mesut Ozil to play in the hole. I use the MC version. Defensively speaking you can never get tired of players with high Anticipation and Positioning with the ability to win headers in the MC slot. Players like this will be able to nip in first before the opponents to nick the ball and generally dominate the pitch whenever there is a threat of a counter from the opponent. Liberal quantities of Acceleration and Pace to help recover if a player gets past your midfield is another major asset. My CM's are effectively Centrebacks with high Creativity and Passing ability to distribute the ball around well. I may sometimes opt for a less defensively able CM but then you do notice a reduced defensive solidity of your midfield, so it's a matter of choice. That's the nature of the system though.
  10. Very interesting stuff. It looks like a greatly enhanced system. I still havn't played FM11 but when a thread like this pops up it gets the cogs whirring. There were two things I wanted to talk about; my experience of man managing top players in FM10 where I was really getting some awesome results, and the effect you guys are seeing of diminished returns from unsettling opponents as you climb the leagues, because I think these are linked and quite understandably so. My experience of man managing a top side in FM10 was simple. Opposition comments tended to upset my own squad for limited gains and it was often best to let the opposition do my work for me (Wenger/Benitez). The second thing is that my squad performed at their best when pushed to the limit of pressure and demands. I always had one or two players "unhappy with recent teamtalks" but managed these issues carefully, which basicly means I was ultra demanding of my players to the point where I was treading a fine line between motivation and excessive harshness. I would walk this line by taking risks with my demands and then toning them down if I received a bad reaction, effectively operating at the borderline of intensity of demands. For my squad this kicked players into maximum performance mode, regardless of score I would tear into players at half time playing less than 7.0 including those that were nervous and had made mistakes. This approach with my top side did the trick. The downside was the odd "feels you are too harsh" etc. The way I think it ties into what you guys are saying here is in terms of the level of personality attributes. At low football levels there are low personality attributes so achieving a "negative" result is much easier than a "positive" one. So you comment on the opponent and disrupt his squad while you try to talk your own players into not collapsing. If you try to get a "positive" result i.e. motivating your own side they will likely just crumble under the pressure. At higher levels you have higher personality attributes so players respond better to a "positive" approach while a "negative" approach will backfire. Slandering an opponent will provoke a reaction from high professionalism attributes in your own squad for example. But so will trying to fire them up through teamtalks, ripping into poor performances at half time. This means that there is a level of football where both start to come into play. Where there is a combination of positive and negative effects and reactions throughout club and league as opposed to the mainly negative at low level and mainly positive at high levels. This mid tier where high and low personality attributes combine should be the toughest man management challenge of all.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. I personally am a bit dubious about advanced mentality, low RFD lone strikers. Pushed far forward and extending the natural gap between themselves and the AMC/Midfield/Wingers and then lacking regular attacking runs is for me something I find contrary to the idea of an actual penetrative forward. My take on a penetrating lone striker would be a role that is dropping deep then making attacking runs. A role that is naturally testing the defensive line by dropping into the hole and looking to run beyond the D-Line before any other options are considered. In effect constantly trying to spin the Centreback.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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".
  23. 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.
  24. The Penalty Taking attribute is all about the accuracy of the kick. The higher the attribute the more likely the player is to find the spot he aimed at and vice versa. For a Goalkeeper facing a Penalty Kick you are looking at Reflexes and Agility, and very likely you are looking for Anticipation, Composure and possibly Decisions. I have a goalkeeper with 19 Reflexes, 19 Composure, 19 Concentration and 18 Agility and he is a monster at keeping out penalty kicks. If you don't want to "build" set-piece taking goalkeepers or goalkeepers with great first touch and passing and instead just want a good goalkeeper, stick to the training categories of Aerobic, Goalkeeping and Tactics. These three categories are all you need and they cover a goalkeepers physical ability at goalkeeping, his mental ability at goalkeeping and his "technical" ability at goalkeeping. To my knowledge they indicate changes to how a player is training, not directly corresponding to end result but close enough. In this image Ryan Giggs is just back from injury and so has started training again, so the efforts to improve his categories has picked up and that's what you see here. He wont actually improve though because he is too old, but none of his attributes will decline quicker than any others going by the info on this screen, atleast not because of training. They might decline faster for other reasons. Douglas Costa has had his Set Piece training reduced to zero by me, and because of this all the rest of his categories have started improving more because no ability is being added to his Set Pieces and is instead being spread out amongst the rest of his categories. However his Strength training has not changed by reducing his Set Piece training, so if I want his Strength keep pace with the rest I will have to go into his schedule and crank it up a bit more compared to the rest. These arrows show the effect that changes to training, whether the schedules themselves or injuries or holidays or improvements in attitude or coaches, is having on the player. Whenever you make a change to a schedule, check back here to make sure it is working as you have planned. If you want to see more Strength increases compared to everything else then change his schedule untill you see arrows on this screen indicating that Strength is improving faster. After he has been on the same schedule for a while these arrows will all go away as there are no more changes to the EFFECT of his training schedule. The simple answer would be to try and overload Zonal Marking systems with lots of players in the same area, while against Man Marking systems you want to pull players out of position and try and get a good player of yours against a bad player of the opponent in a dangerous position. I can't give a more complex answer because I don't know precisely what circumstances you have in mind and I don't know the precise ins-and-outs of all marking and defensive behaviour in the ME. Nor would I like to give out any "game-breaking" answers if I did. Loose Zonal Marking with little to no Closing Down, and a player with very low Workrate. Also if you position a player in a "strata" above the opponent, for example place your Wingers at AMR/L when the opponents has his Wingersat ML/R then they tend not to "catch" each other defensively because they are in different zones. There is no simple answer to this question but the general idea is excellent movement from your front men pulling defenders out of position, combined to intelligence, creativity and technical ability of delivery for your providers. The more and better quality movement you can produce and the better your players can spot passing opportunities and deliver the ball, the more likely you are to create CCC's. Tempo is a very important aspect of creating good quality chances, because it forces a speed of play and this effects the ability to make good decisions and deliver good quality passes but also affects the time the oppositions defence has to think and get back into position. There is a tempo "sweetspot" for every match but in general you should look to find the "average tempo sweetspot" for your team. The balance between quality and pace of play is as important as the quality of movement and delivery. There are two very sound "answers" to this question I have read but I do not know the truth for sure, however both tend to mean the same thing. The first answer is that Position Rating affects Positioning, Off-The-Ball, Decisions and other Mental Attributes that relate to intelligence and understanding. So playing a player out of position will affect his "Intelligence" Mental Attributes but not his "Personality" Mental Attributes. The second answer is that it reduces a players CA via some fairly complex equation. In other words a player playing in an unfamiliar has his effective ability reduced. Both of these seem sensible answers to me but I don't know the truth. However if either of these are true then Mental Attributes will be reduced by playing out of position, so that is what I personally take into account when playing players out of position. Based on my own observation of free role behaviour I would say the following: Free Roles "liberate" a player from positional absolutes and allow him to play according to his own positional understanding. When Free Role is given to players, Off-The-Ball + Positioning + Teamwork become absolutely vital. Players will make attacking runs, position themselves defensively, and offer support to teammates based on their own abilities at these attributes combined to the situation being played out in the match. Free Role effectively free's a player to Position himself defensively, move into attacking space, or move into supporting positions according to his abilities. Personally speaking I would consider Teamwork to be by far the single most vital attribute when it comes to Free Roles as players with high Teamwork and Free Role will constantly be looking to support the team effort by moving into space whenever possible. For that space to be great attacking space requires Off-The-Ball, for a great defensive supporting position requires Positioning, and to fully exploit space requires a high Free Role attribute. It is however Teamwork that encourages or forces players to constantly be on the move to support the team effort to the best of their abilities, whether that is support the team via offensive movement or defensive positioning. In my own save I play a 4-4-1-1 / 4-2-3-1 and I have given my advanced six players outside my back four Free Roles. My two CM's all have excellent Teamwork and Positioning attributes and negligable Off-The-Ball and their play consists of brilliant positional support for all play. They very rarely move into advanced areas, they very rarely move wide, they spend most of their time creating passing angles for each other and for the rest of the team in the centre of midfield. They are constantly moving into space in support of the team around the ideal positions for them to occupy, right at the heart of the team. By constrast the AMC with Free Role and negligable positioning but high Off-The-Ball and high Teamwork is constantly looking to support my CM's but through movement into attacking areas. He combines the effort to support the team with the effort to take up very threatening positions. So the summary of my answer is that when you are planning to give someone a Free Role, look at the Positioning / Off The Ball / Teamwork attributes and decide whether "liberating" these players from absolute positioning instructions is going to enhance their role in your team or diminish it. For example, if you give Fabregas a Free Role don't expect him to support your team from deep, because his positional sense is low, especially compared to his attacking movement off-the-ball. However if you give Carrick a Free Role, do expect him to support your team from deep. His high Teamwork and high Positioning means that he will constantly be taking up excellent supporting deep positions relative to your attack. To my knowledge there is no combination of instructions that produces this behaviour to an acceptable degree. The game simply does not support it.
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