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[FM11] Heathxxx Lower League Management Approach

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Bone, Thanks for your advice its much appreciated I will tell you though what annoyed me twice on FM last night.

While playing as Chesterfield League 2 faves I went into the game against Bury away saying I expect a win. I dominated the game had shots on target and didnt score they broke and scored a late winner (damn!!!! Ryan Lowe lol) I just couldnt grasp what I had to do to break the net as my side had been free scoring before that is there a way I can tell my two hitmen to hit the net more in the match screen as they had shots on target.

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Bone, Thanks for your advice its much appreciated I will tell you though what annoyed me twice on FM last night.

While playing as Chesterfield League 2 faves I went into the game against Bury away saying I expect a win. I dominated the game had shots on target and didnt score they broke and scored a late winner (damn!!!! Ryan Lowe lol) I just couldnt grasp what I had to do to break the net as my side had been free scoring before that is there a way I can tell my two hitmen to hit the net more in the match screen as they had shots on target.

Sorry about the Bury mate sometimes it just goes against you, every season I have played so far there have been games like that for me too. So long as you tried to change things around thats all you can do, we have talked about different ways to change things in match to get better chances and the clean through with only the keeper to beat ones are at least to me about the best ones you can generate but if your strikers are putting them all past the outside of the post its a bit tough and there isnt much you can do. Infact there is only realy one chance you have to do anything and even then its a bit hit and miss.

To me there are two things, well three that are likely to cause it and two of them you cant do a thing about.

1) Plain statistics. getting 100 heads on 100 coin tosses is statisitcaly very unlikely but is possible, so in the game your striker was playing as usual, probabilities were with you but you got the 1 in 1000 where all his shots went wide. Nothing you can do.

2) Those pesky hidden attributes. Because of them, especialy your SC's consistency mean sometimes they just dont perform. Nothing you can do as you have probably already tried swapping them about and subbing one, if all the strikers in your squad for the match are justhaving a bad game your stuffed. Just creating chances dosent mean the SC's are performing well.

On a side not I find hidden attributes frustrating, dont get me wrong I like the idea of having attributes you dont know immediatly, but dont think they shouldbe poermenantly hidden. If you scout a player well you should get a view, to me a bit more than the hints from the player personality screen and if you actual have the player in your squad for a season or two they should be much more visible. I mean come on with 60 matches worth of performance in fron of your nose you should have a good feel if they are consistent, professional dirty etc. Sorry just a little moan :).

3) Confidence. Usually over confidence. Did your Ass Mgr say your SC's were looking casual or unfocused before the game, if so over confidence could be setting in and they wont be performing at their best. Did you just breake into the play off spots or auto promotion zone, maybe even took top spot in the league, if so the players could be feeling the pressure of their new found success. You have to try and decide which might be affecting the game when you are dominating in the first half and havent taken the lead, because half time you have one chance to affect this.

When there are options like no presssure, you can make a difference, faith in their ability are there in the half time team talk one of them may well be the key to turning the game around in the second half. Based on what you can pick up from the match info available from the first half, what you know about your player even what has worked before you have to choose individual talks for some players at half time that will with luck get you the win. you may use please, encourage even no team talk for most but for one or wo thae correct private word in their ear can make the difference.

As an example my two regular DC's McCullough and Galbraith. McCullough always seems to respond well to faith in ability but poorly to make a difference while Galbraith is the opposite, the number of time you can make a difference has lead to him scoreing from a corner in the second half is huge.

Where overconfidence is becomeing an issue and it will do more and more with long unbeaten/win streaks a loss may not be the disaster it looks as it should help give the players a reality check. The other thing Heath suggested was unfair player chats picking on a player etc, as a way of reducing over confidence but im not sure how well that works we will have to wait for Heath's input again.

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Gateshead season 4 review: the npower Championship!

It’s took a while to complete this season due to other commitments but I finally managed it this morning, leading Gateshead FC to the promised land of the Premier League!

This has definitely been the toughest season yet. The conference was a walk in the park and we had no trouble in Leagues 1 & 2 but there’s a definite step up in class when you get to the Championship. I was confident however that with the signings I made (detailed previously) that I could at least challenge for a play of position, and we flew out of the blocks and by October we were about 8 points clear! I thought I was going to walk it but then came a bit of a sticky patch:

gatesheadseason4stickyp.jpg

I didn’t win a league game from the 9th November until the 18th January and slipped down the table into the play off spots (note the two wins in that sequence are in the league cup & a friendly i organised to try and boost morale!). I’m not exactly sure what i did wrong during that period but clearly my man management wasn’t up to scratch. I think people hit periods like this and say ‘my tactics stopped working’ but I knew this was the same group of players and the same instructions that had started the season so well. I worked hard on maintaining/boosting morale with positive team talks, press conferences & private chats and eventually I scraped a lucky 2-1 win away to Plymouth followed up by two ‘easy’ home wins over Crewe and Swindon and I finished the season strongly; although I was having to work harder for wins compared to my early season form, particularly away from home where I'd often start with a more defensive 4-4-1-1 system. I secured promotion on the second last game of the season, and promotion on the final day with a 2-1 home win over Norwich, coming back from 1 down with Tiboni (my only fit striker at this point!) grabbing both goals! Coventry finished second, and Newcastle ended up going up via the play offs

gatesheadseason4leaguet.jpg

I had a very good season in the cups, the highlight being a league cup final vs moneybags Man City! I got beat 1-0 in a pretty one sided game but I had my chances; including Peter Odemwingie missing a penalty after 10 mins .. if only that had gone in ....

gatesheadseason4cups.jpg

Next season ...

I look forward to the Premier League with some trepidation! In the cups I’ve done ok against Premier League opposition, and I’ll be wheeling and dealing over the summer to try and improve the squad, but I’ve relied heavily on loan players in the past and it’s not so easy to get them when you’re playing in the same division as the parent club. I’ll be looking to move on quite a few of my current squad, and fortunately most are wanted by other clubs after successful seasons. Whatever the future holds, the board are starting to think bigger, agreeing to upgrade the training facilities and build a new ground, named after a player who is in the favoured personnel but who I released on my first day in the job!!

gatesheadseason4newstad.jpg

Onwards and upwards!

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Into my 4th season now with Chester Fc in the Blue square premier,expected to be in a relagation battle but in december now in 1st place.

Going into nearly every game media favour's the opposition. Still a semi-professional team don't know when that i will turn professional.

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I am quite pleased that I managed to get Havant & Waterlooville into the BSP. :) We won BSS ahead of Dover who lost the 41st round and so we clinched the title! I struggled to get the team to play the wonderfull attacking football in the latter stages of the season, basically scraping through each game I have to admire the players stubborness to get the wins needed. Loved one of the games where we got a corner and headed in the winner in the 94th minute! And so nice to see the fans coming in for the last game of the season and nearly filling the stadium.

Not much going on in pre season though. Have offloaded 4 and brought in 4, though quite able guys I have to say. Sort of players that should be able to walk into the starting 11 I belive. Had a good run of games though, won the all mighty "Waterlooville League"! :D But I was pleased with the fact this team could finally stand up to Villa, CHelsea and Arsenal reserves, we all ended on 4p but we had the better goal difference. Played quite well against sides in "our league" so to speak and managed to play really well against Luton who actally is in BSP so, looks positive.

Other than that. I complained before about not being able to sign players on full time contracts. Had much more success this season with the new guys and new contracts. I even managed to lower some wages and was able to get htem to sign also on full as I increased the contract lenght by a extra year. Didn't think of that before but seems to be working for me now to get them on full time.

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I seem to be really struggling with chances, I am playing a 4-4-2 with advanced wingers I seem to score loads of goals but this is where I am struggling..

I have played a few away games where I have conceded an early goal when the pitches are bad so I have set the following

Exploit the Flanks

Get The Ball Forward and Work into Box whilst attacking now and again for positive action.

I seem to end up losing these games 4-1 or 5-1 even if I am not attacking and playing standard defensive etc my point is I am struggling to turn around games it frustrates me because three matches after in a row I will win convincingly.

I am past the point now where I Put it as a fluke result just wondering If anyone can help me turn a deficeit around from the information given when away from home.

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MartinGregory84 - on poor and boggy pitches, try to encourage more direct play, with instructions like:

Get the ball forward

Pump the ball into the box

Exploit the flanks

Drop deeper

Stay on feet

In addition, you could change your defenders to Limited Defender, to encourage them to clear the ball more quickly, rather than trying to pass their way out.

Don't forget as well, that your opponents will be affected by poor pitch and weather conditions too. Especially their keeper and defence. Don't be frightened to instruct your team to shoot on sight, rather than work the ball into box. This doesn't only mean that they'll be trying long range efforts, but that they'll take first time shots in and around the box too. This will encourage your players to get shots in on goal, before they're closed down by opposition defenders. A first time shot doesn't give an opposing keeper much time to react either. In poor weather conditions and on a poor pitch, a first time shot might also be harder for a keeper to judge.

Personally, if my team is going behind, I'd rather try to attack and get back into the game, than sit back and defend. I'd rather loose heavily trying to get back into a game, than sit back and be pressured even more. The biggest thing you have to be aware of though, is that the better you do, the more teams will sit back and look to counter attack. These can indeed be hard to break down and occasionally you will suffer the sucker punch of a counter attack goal. If you're playing more direct though, it's often better to instruct your full backs to "defend", so they'll keep position better and have your defensive line deeper, so they're in position to handle forwards, rather than having to chase after them.

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I have a question for everyone involved in playing in the lower leagues of your division. How much emphasis do you place on finding players with high determination over having key attributes for a specific position/role? The reason why I ask is because I have jumped back in to a lower league save but playing full LLM rules or trying to. I found that I'm using more of my own judgement now than having to rely on my staff.

This brings me on to my point. I have a centre-half who has great determination but lacks in everything else and it suprises me that he can actually play football. I know that some players out play there stats but this guy doesn't have any apart from determination. His tackling is nine. The rest aren't worth mentioning. He started the season as fifth or sixth choice but due to the side having a bad run of form and I wasn't happy with certain players I started to pick him and he hasn't let me down. He has formed a great partnership with one of my new centre halves and he lacks attributes as well but is doing well and is one of my best players so far(In November). I've also changed my keeper from my experienced long serving player to my 17 now 18 year old. My 18 year old is doing good and those three have done well in the defensive 'triangle' so to speak. Whilst occassionally we do have lapses of concetration and moments of madness, it isn't as bad as I thought. We currently sit 4th in the league and we are in the FA Cup 1st round replay. If we win that we play St Albans and have a great chance of getting to the third round.

So yeah, how much importance do you feel determination is over key attributes for a specific position/role?

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Determination, amongst other mental attributes, can have considerable weight on player performance. That's why I'd rather have a player who's mentally strong, over one who's technically and physically strong, but is clueless mentally.

In the past, I have had players with exceptional technical and physical ability, but poor mental attributes. Invariably, they would perform way below expectations, simply because they're mentally incapable of utilising their strong technical and physical attributes well.

Obviously the ideal is to have a good spread of technical, mental and physical attributes, but we aren't always fortunate enough to have such players available. Therefore it's always important to weigh everything up carefully when it comes to player attributes.

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heath:- Read your post again and I have to say have used what you have asked of me but il admit two

things I have my full backs on support and rarely shoot on sight am hoping this brings me luck as I

contemplating starting a Long Term save with St Albans.

Thanks for the advice

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I usually have my full backs on "automatic", letting them decide for themselves when to get forward, or when to stay back, themselves. If I feel there's an increased risk of getting caught on the counter attack, leaving wide open spaces for opposing wingers to exploit, then I'll set them to "defend". They will still support forward moves, but with more caution and they'll stay behind the ball more, covering their positional zone better defensively.

Admittedly it can be tricky choosing what shouts to use and when. At most, I can really only suggest things I'll try myself in certain situations and in certain pitch/weather conditions. It's important to remember though, that a more footballing side will struggle in poor conditions, so a more direct approach can often work more effectively. It's actually one of the reasons why I was happiest drawing big opponents at home in the cups. I could bring them down to my level and they would have to adapt their game to suit the conditions, whereas I was already prepared for them. :)

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Firstly welcome back Heath, hope all the sun and sangria in spain hasnt addled your brain too much :).

I was interested in your views on mental vs technical attributes, as I have posted previously in the thread most of the players I have signed so far have been youngsters released from bigger teams or who have been found by my scouts to have potential in their national searches. beong under 21, most of them have been 17 or 18 when signed they tend to have poor mental development or at least the tactical part of it. I will admit I do look to make sure they arent terrible but 8 or 9 in determination has been acceptable to me so far. On the plus side they tend to have well developed physical attributes as they are comming out of premmiership/championship youth teams.

What I do look for is the coach report to say consistant or at the very least enjoys big matches, these personality traits may correspond to OK determination im not sure but its the consistency I want big time. Over the course of the season I want to know what I will get or am pretty likely to get, players that blow hot and cold make for unexpected, at least by me defeats.

One thing which confuses me is that despite doing well I am almost always the underdog in games, I can understand it at the start of the season with players who are unknown quantitys in competitive fixtures but it just dosent seem to change right up to me getting promoted. Even in the second half of the season when im playing teams I beat comfortably in the first fixture im usualy not favorites. Other people dont seem to have this problem and I wondered if you had any ideas. The only one I can think of is that the team has a reputation score of some kind based on the sum of the squads previous performance, but that each players rating is based on their competitive history in previous fixtures and that the rating only updates at the end of the season. If this is the case my youngsters will all contribute little or nothing to the team rating in their first season and the addition of 9-15 new untried players dilutes any rating I have from the players who have managed to keep their spots in the first team squad. It just dosent make sense otherwise so your input would be appreciated.

A last question, I believe you left AFC Telford in your save when they reached the NLP1, if so was it for financial reasons. Im playing in the NPL1 this season and after the league financing and season ticket sales got to a nice bank balance of just over £2mil. But now despite only spending £25k of a possible £35k of wage budget im loseing almost £150k a month despite almost capacity attendance, I have good apperance bonuses etc which I know will be contributing but still. The board have just agreed to expand the stadium (they still wont expand the training facilities the meanies) so I will persevere and see if finances pick up next season, but if they dont i can see myself slipping into debt at a steady rate. So I guess my qustion is do you find you hit a limit on how far you can take a lower league team? Even up tp NPL2 a good cup run even if only the Johnson Paint etc was enough to balance the books, but with the higher wages in the NPL1 it seems I will need an away tie cash cow against one of the biggies just to make ends meet. I already out of the league cup in the second round having gota disaster of a draw against premiership Sunderland at home, bugger all money and a 0-1 loss to end that potential revenue stream.

Again welcome back

Bone

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Personally, if my team is going behind, I'd rather try to attack and get back into the game, than sit back and defend. I'd rather loose heavily trying to get back into a game, than sit back and be pressured even more. The biggest thing you have to be aware of though, is that the better you do, the more teams will sit back and look to counter attack. These can indeed be hard to break down and occasionally you will suffer the sucker punch of a counter attack goal. If you're playing more direct though, it's often better to instruct your full backs to "defend", so they'll keep position better and have your defensive line deeper, so they're in position to handle forwards, rather than having to chase after them.

The bolded part was all too true in the 2nd half of my BSS season. We really had to scrape through each and every game and I think I only won 1 or 2 in the back half by more than a goal! What you are saying about the full backs sound quite interesting and something I haven't thought of. Will try that when/if this happens again. Currently in BSP and top of the league with 4 wins from 4 and looks like the others are complacent against me so far but I guess it will change when they realise they won't be bullying us around. :D But I will certainly have to look at our defensive play as we have conceeded 6 in those 4 games and only kept a clean sheet in the premiere home against Newport, but still conceded plenty of chances. From what I can gather it seems I conceed most when one of the CB decided to come out of position to pressure the one on the ball, this laves a lot of space behind him and my other CB doesn't seem interested enough to cover infield, so the striker has time and space to get a goal.

Would it work to have both CB on cover, don't have the game up right now so there might be another option except stopper and cover? As I feel the one on stopper isn't decisive enough to close the opposition player on the ball quickly and hard enough. Otherwise I quite like to see my defenders do this, but in this level it seems I haven't found the right player for the job.

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Heathxxx i would like to say thank's as after struggling with Chester Fc in the Blue square premeirship i implemented your approuch thus turning my season around.

Media prediction at start of the season was avoid relagation but i ended up winning the playoff's and now in the Npower league 2, four back to back promotion's awesome journey would reccomend Chester Fc

as a great lower league side to start at. This is the first time i have been a lower league side and i have to say i prefer it.

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One thing which confuses me is that despite doing well I am almost always the underdog in games, I can understand it at the start of the season with players who are unknown quantitys in competitive fixtures but it just dosent seem to change right up to me getting promoted. Even in the second half of the season when im playing teams I beat comfortably in the first fixture im usualy not favorites. Other people dont seem to have this problem and I wondered if you had any ideas. The only one I can think of is that the team has a reputation score of some kind based on the sum of the squads previous performance, but that each players rating is based on their competitive history in previous fixtures and that the rating only updates at the end of the season. If this is the case my youngsters will all contribute little or nothing to the team rating in their first season and the addition of 9-15 new untried players dilutes any rating I have from the players who have managed to keep their spots in the first team squad. It just dosent make sense otherwise so your input would be appreciated.

The problem with the reputation system in FM for me, is that it seems to be tied too much to the club reputation, though it has improved somewhat in recent releases. Now, if you're starting the game with your average Blue Square North/South club, by the time you reach League Two or League One, your club reputation will have grown, but not by a great deal, because the reputations of the competitions you'll have won so far, isn't very high either. Your club will still be considered major underdogs, especially once you get to League One, where your club reputation will be way lower than most, if not all, teams in your division.

In recent releases, it has improved to take form and other factors into account more, but mostly when it comes to pre-match odds. I still find it both amusing and slightly annoying, when my team is fifteen points clear at the top of the league, then I get asked by the media who I think will win the league. Frustratingly, I have to usually answer "no comment", simply because the poor club reputation seems to be taken into account for the following negative reactions, should I say that my own team will win.

Essentially, it's you're low club reputation which will be the overriding factor that dictates your team always being considered the underdogs. This will remain the same, all the way up to the Premier League if you get them there. Only when you start to win some of the bigger trophies, or perform well in the Premier League, will your club reputation rise much more rapidly.

To give you some idea, given I know some of the figures behind the scenes for club reputation. If I was to take Granada C.F. up from the Liga adelante to La Liga, I would have to over achieve in the first season with a top half finish, to get a rise in club reputation that would see the club considered anything more than relegation battlers. Granada CF start in FM11 in the Liga adelante with a club reputation of 5250. I would estimate that with promotion, this would rise to about 5800, or thereabouts. Only good league positions and cup wins would see that grow any quicker.

Taking a club from the BSN/S with a starting club reputation of about 1000, they might still be under 2000 by the time they reach League One. This will mean they're underdogs by some considerable margin compared to the other clubs. Good cup runs, with the odd giant killing result will give it a big push, as will further promotions, but the real reputation jumps come at the highest level with the bigger competitions.

A last question, I believe you left AFC Telford in your save when they reached the NLP1, if so was it for financial reasons. Im playing in the NPL1 this season and after the league financing and season ticket sales got to a nice bank balance of just over £2mil. But now despite only spending £25k of a possible £35k of wage budget im loseing almost £150k a month despite almost capacity attendance, I have good apperance bonuses etc which I know will be contributing but still. The board have just agreed to expand the stadium (they still wont expand the training facilities the meanies) so I will persevere and see if finances pick up next season, but if they dont i can see myself slipping into debt at a steady rate. So I guess my qustion is do you find you hit a limit on how far you can take a lower league team? Even up tp NPL2 a good cup run even if only the Johnson Paint etc was enough to balance the books, but with the higher wages in the NPL1 it seems I will need an away tie cash cow against one of the biggies just to make ends meet. I already out of the league cup in the second round having gota disaster of a draw against premiership Sunderland at home, bugger all money and a 0-1 loss to end that potential revenue stream.

Financially things were tough with Telford and I knew I had to sell players to survive, even though I could keep below the wage budget and run a tight ship with the funds. I still have the save point from before I moved to Central Coast Mariners though. The decision to move was more spur of the moment than anything. I'd never managed an Australian side, even though I've often had the A-League set to playable. I just fancied a different challenge more than anything.

Managing finances will always be the toughest part of managing a small club, especially if there's been no stadium expansion or new stadium built by the time you get there. I think the hardest part is wage negotiations. There will always be players interested in opening negotiations, but when they're demanding twice what you're able to offer, it can be quite a bitter pill to swallow. You just have to keep building each season, bringing players in on free transfers, for as low a wage as you can haggle them down to. You should never get too attached to players either and be ready to sell players on for the highest fees you can get, to help balance your finances. These things are more in your control, whereas reliance on a cup run or a plumb tie against someone like Man Utd or Arsenal away, that doesn't materialise, will only make things more difficult.

I actually do thing that more realistic finances have made it more difficult to take a club from the non-league, all the way to the Premier League, but it's certainly not an insurmountable challenge. You may not do it with back-to-back promotions, but it should still be possible in six or seven seasons. I reckon that it's still do-able to get there in consecutive seasons, though I maintain it will require exceptional attention to detail in managing all aspects of your club. It isn't just about tactics, but many other aspects of management too.

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Would it work to have both CB on cover, don't have the game up right now so there might be another option except stopper and cover? As I feel the one on stopper isn't decisive enough to close the opposition player on the ball quickly and hard enough. Otherwise I quite like to see my defenders do this, but in this level it seems I haven't found the right player for the job.

My initial instinct would say that two centre backs on "cover", probably wouldn't work so well. If you're struggling with your central defenders set to the "central defender" with cover/stopper roles, maybe try "limited defender" roles, or try this defender as a "limited defender" stopper, with the better, faster player as "central defender" cover, or even "limited defender" cover, if he's not too good either. They certainly won't do anything fancy, as their job will be to defend with the minimum of fuss and get the ball upfield as quickly as they can. This will suit a more direct approach better overall, as they'll often bypass the midfield with clearances, rather than the options a "central defender" or "ball playing defender" might consider.

Really, it's more about the basics, rather than trying anything they're not particularly capable of doing.

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My initial instinct would say that two centre backs on "cover", probably wouldn't work so well. If you're struggling with your central defenders set to the "central defender" with cover/stopper roles, maybe try "limited defender" roles, or try this defender as a "limited defender" stopper, with the better, faster player as "central defender" cover, or even "limited defender" cover, if he's not too good either. They certainly won't do anything fancy, as their job will be to defend with the minimum of fuss and get the ball upfield as quickly as they can. This will suit a more direct approach better overall, as they'll often bypass the midfield with clearances, rather than the options a "central defender" or "ball playing defender" might consider.

Really, it's more about the basics, rather than trying anything they're not particularly capable of doing.

Out of interest, are you playing FM10 with Chester City, or using the lower tiers database with the newly formed club with FM11?

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Thx Bonesoul, much appreciated. This is definitely a frustrating part of the game at this point for me. And, I am here asking questions in Heathxxx's thread for lower leagues, but playing Roma! I have signed a number of youth players and my coaches don't even suggest tutoring. Just strange, really.

Latest ridiculous example: Signed new ST and it says in his personal page that he is a similar player to Berbatov. So, I figure that I will ask Berbatov to tutor him. Obviously, no go. Now, the best part is that Berbatov, who is inexplicably highly moody, will probably have very poor morale for a week or two.

There doesn't seem to be a method to the madness and that is what is frustrating. Way too many youth players rejecting what would seem like obvious training or tutoring.

Determination, amongst other mental attributes, can have considerable weight on player performance. That's why I'd rather have a player who's mentally strong, over one who's technically and physically strong, but is clueless mentally.

In the past, I have had players with exceptional technical and physical ability, but poor mental attributes. Invariably, they would perform way below expectations, simply because they're mentally incapable of utilising their strong technical and physical attributes well.

Obviously the ideal is to have a good spread of technical, mental and physical attributes, but we aren't always fortunate enough to have such players available. Therefore it's always important to weigh everything up carefully when it comes to player attributes.

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.

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Ahh Mr SFraser Sir :) nice to see you here on this theread, alongside heath's advice from this thread you threads are central to my thinking about how to get them most of my team in FM11 so thank you. Firstly in conjunction with what you have posted above, I would recommend people check your full thread on building a cohesive team. Its all about getting the most from a squad by matching ability to get bestperformance, there's way too much to discuss here so I will just link the thread

http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/256247-Building-a-Cohesive-Team

One area I am struggling with is training, I know i cant achieve what I would with a Man U as manager of AFC Telford, but I would like to get the best results I can. I read through all 13 pages of your FM10 training thread and picked up a lot but sadly, im guessing because its for FM10 i couldnt actualy get hold of your schedules to compare what I have created against yours. I know its a bit cheeky but I dont suppose you could provide the equivalent schedules for FM11? the FM10 .tsh file i get from the media fire link on your FM10 thread just wont import.

Heath, thanks for explaining why im always the underdog despite dong well, it was driving me mad.

On selling players to balance the books, I have found it very hard to find buyers for players in my save, all the english teams interested in buying them just dont have the money so to offload them i end up gettin little or nothing often only a possible % of next sale profits. I have sold players on the odd occasion a higher league team swoops in for them but usualy they are ones who are part of the reason for my success that season. I end up desperatly searching fo a loan player to fill in the gap, I have cover in the squad for each position, but loosing a player to injury or selling one causes proiblems if im in a two games a week period. Does the number of playable leagues affect the ease of finding buyers for players you have been promoted past, I believe have just over half the playable leagues you do and was wondering if this if affecting things.

Cheers

Bone

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Out of interest, are you playing FM10 with Chester City, or using the lower tiers database with the newly formed club with FM11?

Are you asking me? If so, then no I'm playing with Havant & Waterlooville on FM11. But thanks for you advice on the CB issue. Will be looking more into it and see what would be the options to use. :)

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Heres a quicky for heath..

You know when you create your tactic and use your shouts.. Is it still okay to use the sliders in team instructions or does that screw up the work you have done with your shouts?

Was thinking of the tempo etc?

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I'm not heath but if you use advanced instructions, then you can't use the shouts. Well, you can but they won't do nothing. For example, if you put your team playing narrower in advanced instructions, using the "Play wider" shout won't do a thing.

I hope it helped.

Cheers.

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I'm not heath but if you use advanced instructions, then you can't use the shouts. Well, you can but they won't do nothing. For example, if you put your team playing narrower in advanced instructions, using the "Play wider" shout won't do a thing.

I hope it helped.

Cheers.

Course it helped.. Cheers mate was not sure if they conflicted

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On selling players to balance the books, I have found it very hard to find buyers for players in my save, all the english teams interested in buying them just dont have the money so to offload them i end up gettin little or nothing often only a possible % of next sale profits. I have sold players on the odd occasion a higher league team swoops in for them but usualy they are ones who are part of the reason for my success that season. I end up desperatly searching fo a loan player to fill in the gap, I have cover in the squad for each position, but loosing a player to injury or selling one causes proiblems if im in a two games a week period. Does the number of playable leagues affect the ease of finding buyers for players you have been promoted past, I believe have just over half the playable leagues you do and was wondering if this if affecting things.

Cheers

Bone

I never seem to find any difficulty selling players really, but then as you'll have seen so far in the thread, with Telford I did sign a lot of foreign players. This seems to broaden their "saleability" horizons somewhat, though I do understand what you're referring to with many clubs being unable to afford what you're asking price may be.

One tip to consider, is if you're struggling to sell a player for a lump-sum, one off payment, is offer prospective bidders monthly payment terms. I've used this to sign players my clubs otherwise might not be able to afford, so it makes sense to consider using the same approach to selling players. At the very least, the club won't be paying wages and losing money for a player you don't want, whilst they'll still be gaining something, albeit over a longer payment period. Always try to insert a sell-on clause, no matter who the player is, as this is always potentially something for the future. Even if it's only a few thousand pounds two years down the line, it's two thousand pounds more than nothing, right? ;)

Heres a quicky for heath..

You know when you create your tactic and use your shouts.. Is it still okay to use the sliders in team instructions or does that screw up the work you have done with your shouts?

Was thinking of the tempo etc?

Unfortunately, it's pretty much and "either/or" situation. Using the sliders will negate anything you try to do with any associated touchline shouts.

Although I'm personally happy with the default TC tactics, shouts and combinations myself, I've often pondered over something that might be quite useful for those who still prefer to use the classic sliders. The ability to create their own default tactic, save it, then have the ability to use the touchline shouts to change things, relating to their stored default tactic. No idea how feasible that would be to implement and code, probably quite complex, but you never know... it could be something for the future.

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Heath one thing about you is you have a good knowledge of what teams require etc, My Chesterfield save I have no money to spend after promotion to league one I have no high wage budget so I am having to rely on players who for that League are just not good enough my loan signings are okay but I just get the feeling I would like my own boys to be world beaters (as everyone does). I know it isnt my tactics but I am thinking of switching my wingers to support.

How do you personally cope with that situation with a lower league club?

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As you can see i have done well after using your approach heathxxx now in npower league 2 im struggling again predicting to lose to every team in the league.

Start of the season signed a new main kit sponsership worth 20k per annum when before a mere 2.3k a year. 732 season tickets and an average attendence of 3600. Will add a picture of my current squad shortly

and if anybody has any advise it would be greatly welcome.

Two player's missing from the picture are Christain Nanetti and Callum Ball

<a  href=http://img121.imageshack.us/img121/3120/chesterchestertactics.png' alt='chesterchestertactics.png'> Uploaded with ImageShack.us[/img]

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With all the tactics made from creator is it wrong to amend certain player instructions or will this keep my tactic balanced as I am bit weary if I extremley alter player instructions the basis of my tactic will go out the window.

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Sorry I've not been around much. Hellishly busy with work again, so haven't been on the forums much.

I do have a quick scan through posts though and although I've not got much time to go into detailed replies, it's good to see people sharing their thoughts and helping each other out with different ideas.

That's what a thread like this is intended to be about. :)

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With all the tactics made from creator is it wrong to amend certain player instructions or will this keep my tactic balanced as I am bit weary if I extremley alter player instructions the basis of my tactic will go out the window.

Can anyone advise this please?

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Hi, Heath I am really struggling to find detailed advice on the weather conditions on tactics. There is obvious advice like dont run around in the heat but more subtle things like what to do in breezy, drizzle are not so clear (its not really windy and does that count as proper wet?). Any pointers?

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Can anyone advise this please?

To me its more tweaking what a player is likely to do rather than a massive change to tactics overall. You have set up your basic tactic in terms of player freedom closeing down etc and you are now picking a specific player going into his advanced options to get that little bit extra or different.

It may be that you are playing a fairly rigid style with little freedom to roam but you have one or two creative playmakers you want to be more flexible, this is where you do it and it should give you more creativity. The downside is they wont necessarily be in position when you loose the ball, but hey its all a balance.

Say I have two wingers one of whom is a great crosses and one not so good, I can set the good one to mostly try and cross and the other to play through balls. I can decide if the one who can cross does it earlyy from deep ar gets to the byeline. Does he aim for a target man pop it in to the near post or mix it up. I can set it up at the start based on what I think will work and change it in game based on what I see is causing trouble for the opposition.

If your wingers are can swap sides and one is a good dribbler do you put him on the fullback with a yellow card and get him to run at the poor guy all the time, maybe he gets sent off.

One important thing to remember is the instructions stay with the position so if you make a substitution make sure any instructions re the player substituted still apply to the one bought on.

The more you see the more info you have to decide what to try so in theory the best way to play is to watch all matches in full an adjust based on what you are seeing, sadly im like most people I guess, and just dont have the patience to watch more than extended hilights at most so at best im guessing what may help.

Hope this helps

Bone

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Heath,

Fascinating thread. I'm a relative newbie to FM and my natural inclination was to go straight to lower leagues. This thread is a goldmine of advice and useful tidbits.........or so I thought. After viewing you as such a font of wisdom, you then went out and signed Pete Vagenas! Now I don't know what to believe anymore. ;)

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As Bonesoul had suggested to me earlier, I belive, I have been experimenting a lot with playing a sort of 4-1-1-2-2 formation of late. Especially away from home when playing good teams expected to win the game. With now 13 games played I feel the media is starting to face the fact that my Havant side is better than they thought and I'm more often favourite at home. But playing with a DM away from home has really made a big difference! And I think it really showed in my last game away to 2nd place Luton who were expected to run us over.

They were clearly the better side but we had a lot of superb chances and I regret I got my AML injured before the game that forced me to tweak my attackline a bit. Tyriaki came back into the side and I had to move Evans to the more mobile striker role. Tyriaki wasted 3 1-on-1 chances, where Evans have been very cool finisher in those kind of chances. But thanks to the DM, plus I have instructions to "stand off opponent", Luton were constantly forced to shoot from far out and the DM protected the defence superbly and I even had to sub him eventuelly cause he ran himself into the ground! ;)

We won that game 2-0 and I truly belive it was thanks to the DM. I am a little like Heath, I want to play pretty football but keeping the tactic (more or less like in the opening posts) and simply dragging one of the MCs into a DM role keeps the team flowing in offense but seem to truly protect the back four much better cause I'm not conceeding as much as I did at the start of the season. The Luton game was a pretty fun game to watch, plenty of pace and attacks and well, it made it all even more fun as we won and are now 4p clear at the top of the BSP. :)

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Hey mate glad it seems to be working for you using a CM/DMC partnership, all the way from the BSN to the NPL1 its been a good backstop for me when I have thought the opposition are creating too many chances. Infact the three tactics I have as fully prep'd are

4-2-2-2

4-1-1-2-2

4-1-2-2-1 (4-5-1 to some)

As all three use AMR/AML and 4 defenders all I am tweaking is the middle 4 as to how attacking/defensive they are, given its not hard to find a player who is comfortable as both CM and DMC I dont even require to use subs to switch, one of my strikers can play AMR and my AMR can play CM so switching about is possible at will.

I dont even just do it when I need to tighten things up at the back. Its been posted by a few people that swapping players about can help when things when a game is a bit of a stalemate, switch your SC's over, if possible swap your AML and AMR etc. The game engine seems to have a, call it comfort factor built into it so after x mins into a game oppostition players start getting used to who they are marking and what they will need to do. Swapping players about on them seems to distrupt this factor and help break a stalemate (it can always backfire :p) but I do it a lot with my midfield and forward line if i think things need freshening up. With te tactical flexibility I have I can even go 4-5-1 for 20 mins then swithc back to my preferred 4-2-2-2 for a final attempt to break them down.

When looking at your team for the new season its always worth looking at how you can add to the options available to you for flexibility in game, even start with one of your alt formations sometimes, the game engine uses scout reports on your tactics too. Being too predictable with a successfull tactic at least to me seems to lead to reduced effect of that tactic over time.

With my struggle in the NPL1 im trying to add another dimension to my possibiliities, though im not sure the players kill levels are quite good enough yet, im looking at what I suppose is a 2-3-1-2-2 which is to say

CD/CD - WCL/DMC/WBR - CM - AMR/AML - SC/SC

The principle is as follows, my 2 full backs are now wing backs both with cood crossing skill, my AMR/AML are good passers with personal tactics to look for through balls rather than cross. With a team tactic of look for the overlap, my wide midfielders will either have the opton to set up one of my SCs or pass to the Wingback who should have space to make a good cross. Meanwhile at the back my DMC is providing cover to the CDs who may be pulled out of position if I loose the ball because my wingback is stuck up field near one of the opposition corner flags.

At the very least it seemed to create some high scoreing games until my team was decimated in the christmas transfer window. I lost my main striker my AMR one of my CMs and a wing back, 2 where I accepted the offer and 2 where the chairman stepped in and accepted as offers too good to refuse. To make matters worse, having had the team gutted I refused an offer for one of my CDs his agent immediatly put in a wages offer above my abilities to pay and hes now sulikng and playing like a 5 yearold :(.

With what I have managed to pull in to fill the gaps there is no way I will be anywhere near promotion, so its keep the team playing and see what I can do next closed season. Im a bit worried I have hit a glass cealing, where I just cant match the other teams at this level with the size of stadium I have, even though its getting extended to 10000 seats from 6500 with completion in March. If the same happens next season I may just have to cut my losses and move to another lower league side, maybe someone with a nice stadium because they have been demoted a couple of times and rebuild from there.

Have fun

Bone

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wil this work in new zealand lower league.

If by this you mean the tactics discussed in the thread then yes, they should work for any lower league team. What works best will depend on the skill level of players available to you in your selected league. If the skill level is similar to that of players you get starting in the BSN you will need to start with the simpler things discussed here, maybe limited defender roles are better for example, if your CDs passing is 4 or 5 you dont want them trying to play out of trouble.

I would guess that availability of players and staff will be quite limited, I have never played the NZ lower league but i would assume its not a huge pool of local talent and limited foreigners in the league rules may prevent bringign in too much talent from abroad, that and the low status of the league.

Good luck with your save and keep us posted with what you try and how it works :)

Bone

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Manager of Newport County in the Blue Square. Using the system with some success, only three defeats in eighteen games and third in the table. Lots of goal scoring chances. Players fitting into the system.

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Would anyone be able to advise me. I have used the tactics creator to set up my 442.

At lower league level does anyone use specific player instructions or just use team instructions?

Also could you advise me if you would change anything with my current formation am currently at Blue Square Level..

GK

DR –Automatic

DCR – Limited Defender – Stopper

DCL – Limited Defender – Cover

DL – Automatic

AMR – Winger – Attack

MCR – Ball Winning Midfielder – Support

MCL – Ball Winning Midfielder – Defend

AML – Winger – Attack

SCR – Poacher – Attack

SCL – Deep Lying Forward – Attack

Team Settings

Philosphy - Rigid

Strategy – Standard

Passing – Direct

Roaming – Stick To Position

Creative Freedom – Default

Pressing – Default

Crossing – Default

Thanks for your advice

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I think using anything other than 'sunday league footballer' as starting rep in the lower grades is a bit unrealistic.

I agree fully with that post with Sunday league footballer, you cant even attract half decent players adds to the building process :D

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I agree fully with that post with Sunday league footballer, you cant even attract half decent players adds to the building process :D

yup it really is tough! but much more rewarding!

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yup it really is tough! but much more rewarding!

I know mate this time il admit I am struglling have loaded all the lower tiers up and it is impossible to get a decent squad until say evo stick premier level but thats the fun.

Its same with tactics I use this thread because I do not understand why people download others work I used to do it in the old days but now its more rewared when your tactics work with your own tweaking.

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I'm realy struggling at the moment with Utsiktens BK (Sweden). I achieved promotion a 2 seasons ago, and my first season was a great succes. I ended up second, but lost in the play offs.

For some strange reason, between the seasons my salary cap dropped from 30k per month to 16k, but I managed to get some reinforcements.

But for some reason I can't get my team roling this season. Where I played alot of great away matches last season, this season I hardly create any chances, despite having two great stikers, a very good AML and good MC (one more defensive one more offensive).

My opponents usually play 4-4-2 on a narrow field.

I play in 4-4-2 with AML and AMR.

Some questions:

1) when I use play through center, does this make my AML and AMR more obsolete?

2) What, in general, are good advices against 4-4-2 playing teams on a narrow field?

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Martin re your tactics setup for the BSN. Its difficult to comment about the roles you are using because their suitability depends on the each players abilities. When I sign a player I generaly kow what abilities i need for the position in general but once I have them I always rotate through all the options for their position to see which maximises their strengths. As examples you are playing with two ball winning midfielders do both have good skil sets for that or would one be better with another role. Your AML/R are they both good crossers or is one a much better passer, would inside forward suit ones skills better that straight winger?

Its always worth looking at individual instructions both before and in game, if you have a midfielder who cant shoot make sure he dosent try too often by changing his indiviual instruction. In game if you have a player on a yellow card you may want to tweak his instructions to reduce the risk of a red, especialy if your being told hes at risk of loosing control or playing wildly.

And always remember the individual instructions are for the position when you make a substitution you may need to change them.

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Heath,

Fascinating thread. I'm a relative newbie to FM and my natural inclination was to go straight to lower leagues. This thread is a goldmine of advice and useful tidbits.........or so I thought. After viewing you as such a font of wisdom, you then went out and signed Pete Vagenas! Now I don't know what to believe anymore. ;)

Glad you're enjoying it. Lot of great contributions here, especially whilst I've been away and busy with work.

As for Pete Vagenas... he was a decent signing for the English lower leagues. Had never heard of him before I'd signed him, so it's not like I went on any reputation. ;)

Still snowed under at the moment with work though, so my visits are fleeting ones at the moment. I just need to win the lottery, then I could be a man of leisure!

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is it wrong to use tactic creator to give players specific roles then manually adjust the player instructions.

Am not a right good judge of weather these changes affect players at Lower League Level.

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is it wrong to use tactic creator to give players specific roles then manually adjust the player instructions.

Am not a right good judge of weather these changes affect players at Lower League Level.

The way I like to look at things, the Tactics Creator is the easiest and quickest way to implement tactics. Not only that, but you can use the shouts with anything you create through the Tactics Creator interface, to quickly change things during matches.

With the sliders / "classic" interface / advanced... whichever you prefer to call use of the sliders, you can be more finite and specific in every detail, but you can't use sliders and shouts together, as the slider settings will always override what you instruct with shouts.

It's entirely personal preference really. Since the Tactics Creator was implemented, my own preference has been to stick with the TC and shouts, to do what I want to do tactically. If you have a certain player who has a good mix of attributes, but they don't really fit into a specific "role", then it's perhaps sensible to work out what settings, using the sliders, would get the best out of their abilities, creating a custom role for them. You would have to bear in mind though, that this player would effectively ignore any team shouts.

So, you could indeed use a combination of TC and sliders, though you have to appreciate the pro's and con's of whatever you choose to do.

My overall approach these days, is that happy with the roles and instructions possible with the TC, I create a tactic and then build my team around it, using players with suitable attributes to perform well within each role.

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