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How to Play FM: A (Very) Short Guide to Match Preparation, Strategies and Motivation

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How to play FM: I am assuming that everybody can employ the Tactics Creator well enough to build a stable and logical formation. If you are struggling in that regard, I suggest downloading TT&F10 (stickied at the top of the forum), which will explain how to do so in great detail. This thread simply focuses on preparing for and playing matches in FM11.

1: Firstly, recognise that the match preparation screen is more than cosmetic. You need a stable and solid base formation and a gelled side before you can expect any good runs of form. You also need to have a basic strategy for approaching each match type. I use the following:

  • Match I expect to dominate: Team Blend (should win anyway, so spend some time building the team understanding)
  • Match I expect to win: Attacking Movement: Make sure I have the best chance of converting attacking sequences of play
  • Match I hope to win: Defensive Positioning: Make sure I keep it tight at my end and hope to snatch goals on the counter
  • Match I expect to be a struggle: Attacking Set Pieces: Try to keep things as tight as possible and score form a set piece
  • Match I expect to lose: Defensive Set Pieces: Try to frustrate opposition in open play and then successfully defend the resulting set pieces
  • Match I expect to be dominated in: Team Blend (very little chance of a result, so work on team understanding)

I'd prefer this type of strategy to be automated so I didn't have to click the screen every match, but beggars can't be choosers. NB: My own strategy is just one of many options you might decide upon. Just make sure there is some logical consitency in whatever approach you decide to follow.

2: Play each match according to the conditions, relative formations and relative abilities of the teams.

Conditions: Don't try to play pretty football in bad conditions.

  • Good pitch, good conditions: Play whatever style you prefer
  • Wet conditions: Extend your passing, consider more long shots
  • Hot conditions: Reduce your passing, consider working ball into box
  • Heavy conditions: Use the flanks to avoid the chewed up mire in the centre of the pitch
  • Freezing conditions: Use the centre to avoid the frozen ground on the flanks

Formations: Target key opposing players in different formation shapes, e.g:

  • Lone wide players (i.e. no wide midfielders or no full backs): Target the flanks, try to put player under pressure when in possession
  • Lone DMC: Can be useful to specific mark him to stop him controlling possession
  • Lone FC with no AM support: Can be useful to close him down to prevent him holding the ball up long enough for support to arrive

Reputations: Consider the odds and try to work out the best way to beat them

  • Long odds favourite: Patience may be needed as the opposition will invariably sit deep
  • Favourites at home: Take advantage of the home crowd backing and hit them early
  • Favourites away: Control possession until heads drop
  • Close odds: Don't take too many early risks
  • Poor odds: Try to frustrate and hit on the break
  • Terrible odds: Try to frustrate and silence the home crowd

Please note, this is my base logic and is not the only way of approaching these matches. You might be more aggressive or more cautious than I am and have different ideas on how to counter these variables. The important thing is that you have some type of logical plan.

3: Learn to read the match

Even if you are the best motivator/tactician in the world, sometimes your team will have a terrible first half. Recognising that this is happening and counteracting this is vital to long term form. The key thing to look out for is your players losing all their 50/50 challenges, getting to balls late and struggling to keep possession in the opposition half. You need to react quickly and sort things out in the dressing room at half time.

Tactical reaction: Play more conservatively and clear the ball from danger (use the shouts and strategies)

Dressing room reaction: Praise the best one or two players, tell the rest you are disappointed and ask those really underperforming to go and prove a point. This should kick start performance and give you a fighting chance of winnign the 2nd half.

Another important thing to learn is how to ensure a team doesn't slacken off in the second half after an OK-to-excellent first half performance. The last line of in-match commentary before half time can be very helpful in determining which approach to use.

  • Team has the lead in a match you expect to win but doesn't really deserve it: Warn against complacency/performance dropping
  • Team is playing as expected: No team talk, deal with a few individuals playing well/badly
  • Team has played well but doesn't have the lead or a big lead: Encourage
  • Team is playing very well: Pleased
  • Team has dominated from start to finish: Delighted

If you consistently do all the above well, random results and long slumps will become a thing of the past. Good luck and play well.

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So match preparation does something other then slowly fill up some abstract bars and take training time from your players?

Yes. It boots certain elements of performance (i.e. the attributes related to these areas).

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Yes. It boots certain elements of performance (i.e. the attributes related to these areas).

Do you know what happens if its focus is set to None? Is it wasted, or everything gets a smaller bonus?

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Do you know what happens if its focus is set to None? Is it wasted, or everything gets a smaller bonus?

It just doesn't impact upon developmental training (i.e. longer term development/shaping of player attributes). Training to prepare for a match is short-term (i.e. what area of play do we need to focus on for the next game) whereas the player training screen is long-term developmental (i.e. what type of player am I trying to develop here). The former slows down the latter slightly, but compensates for it by boosting performance in the targeted area for the next match.

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Thanks for that wwfan. I like what you do with match preparation. I will do it the same way now. What workload you normally use ?

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Thanks for that wwfan. I like what you do with match preparation. I will do it the same way now. What workload you normally use ?

I'm using the standard right now as I have a youngish team and don't want to take too much developmental time away from them. However, if I had a team in its prime (most players between 24 & 29) I'd probably use a heavier match preparation schedule.

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Most of my players are between those ages. Should i put high workload? Could it be bad for their attributes improvement?thanks again

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Excellent post, we need more of these from your good self again.

Match prep still seems a bit confusing though. If I have a 442 do I need to utilise all 3 versions to maximise learning of strategies (e.g. attacking, defensive, control). If I opted for just focusing on 1 for the match ahead but changed this frequently (e.g. attacking one week, control the next) does knowledge of the original strategy completely unlearn or if would it be still in the background slowly unlearning?

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Most of my players are between those ages. Should i put high workload? Could it be bad for their attributes improvement?thanks again

Their technical attributes shouldn't go up much at these ages anyway. They are pretty much what they are, although they can still improve mentally with experience.

Excellent post, we need more of these from your good self again.

Match prep still seems a bit confusing though. If I have a 442 do I need to utilise all 3 versions to maximise learning of strategies (e.g. attacking, defensive, control). If I opted for just focusing on 1 for the match ahead but changed this frequently (e.g. attacking one week, control the next) does knowledge of the original strategy completely unlearn or if would it be still in the background slowly unlearning?

I don't like how this works. Personally, I believe strategies should be contained within the formation, with all variants being trained as part of the system. I think the current method limits match dynamism, which is a misstep in development. I'd accept that changing playing styles should change the familiarity, but not match strategies, which should be fluid. I just use standard and shift up and down in matches.

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I don't like how this works. Personally, I believe strategies should be contained within the formation, with all variants being trained as part of the system. I think the current method limits match dynamism, which is a misstep in development. I'd accept that changing playing styles should change the familiarity, but not match strategies, which should be fluid. I just use standard and shift up and down in matches.

That's my concern as well. I haven't played much as I'm essentially waiting for patch 2, but I'm currently visualising 3 formations at the moment for my career game (433 central 3 strata, 442 narrow diamond, and possibly one utilising wide players). I have no problem sacrificing formation knowledge for versatility in formations, but when I have to sacrifice learning a strategy on my main formation as a result of this I'm not too pleased.

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Excellent post, we need more of these from your good self again.

Match prep still seems a bit confusing though. If I have a 442 do I need to utilise all 3 versions to maximise learning of strategies (e.g. attacking, defensive, control). If I opted for just focusing on 1 for the match ahead but changed this frequently (e.g. attacking one week, control the next) does knowledge of the original strategy completely unlearn or if would it be still in the background slowly unlearning?

I have a concern about this, having put quite a lot of emphasis into match preparation.

It takes a lot longer for a squad to learn 2 or 3 formations compared to just one - that is reasonable. I've taken the path of focusing on one formation until all the bars are fluid, before starting on a second. By the way, let me stress - one FORMATION, not one TACTIC. I alter player roles massively from match to match, and use shouts very liberally in-game. There's plenty of variety in my tactics, using a single formation.

I have also started my campaign with the option 'team blend' and the workload on maximum. This means I want my team to be playing well as quickly as possible - takes about 6 months with my boys, then I can reduce the workload so that their individual training development can kick in. My thinking is, winning games keeps morale high, which in turn leads to more effective training.

What I'm unhappy about is this: I appreciate that most of the match prep options are to prepare for the next game only, so if you focus on defending set pieces, it's only against the next opponent. Fair enough, but the exception is 'team blend' which is supposed to be cumulative. As I say, I mostly stay with team blend and week by week the bars fill up. However, on the occasions I take 2 days out to focus on one of the other options, the bars drop right down, and weeks of team blending are lost. This seems unreasonable to me. The bars should stall, not drop from fluid to awkward after 3 days. Another observation is that of all the bars, mentality seems to progress far more slowly than the others. Therefore, for me anyway, if I followed wwfan's points in #1, my bars would never increase. i'd like to know if this is the same for others or not; if not, let's consider my next paragraph.

This is my experience. In another thread a poster reported that his bars filled up after 6 weeks, whereas for me it's six months. Here I might point out that I'm starting out in Level 9 with a squad of teenagers - many 16 and 17 year olds with just a smattering of 20-somethings. Therefore, the squad as a whole has very poor mental attributes. If it's the case that my squad are learning very slowly due to footballing unintelligence, that's a good touch by SI. I don't know if that's the reason though, so it would be good to get more reports of how long squads take to learn the manager's tactics and what the variables are.

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Cheers WWFan Brilliant insight into the game and I'm sure it will help masses of players.

Maybe Sticky it so people can get see it/ Use it more easier for Reference.

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This is my experience. In another thread a poster reported that his bars filled up after 6 weeks, whereas for me it's six months. Here I might point out that I'm starting out in Level 9 with a squad of teenagers - many 16 and 17 year olds with just a smattering of 20-somethings. Therefore, the squad as a whole has very poor mental attributes. If it's the case that my squad are learning very slowly due to footballing unintelligence, that's a good touch by SI. I don't know if that's the reason though, so it would be good to get more reports of how long squads take to learn the manager's tactics and what the variables are.

This is an interesting point. I have just purchased the game today after playing the demo for a few weeks. In my demo game, my spurs team have virtually full bars just three games into the season and full bars at 5/6 games into the season.

I can not comment on the drops in bars when trying different match preperation strategies as I didn't really know how this worked and when I did change it, it wasn't for long.

EDIT:

Taken directly from the manual:

9.3.2. Match Preparation

At the end of the day, you train in preparation for a match. This is where the Match Preparation screen comes in. Whilst the Training tab deals with the technical and physical side of things, this will allow you to focus on your tactical approach for your next match.

You will be able to select up to three tactics to prepare for use in the upcoming fixture, allowing your squad to gain greater familiarity with the system they’re about to use. There will also be the opportunity to focus on one particular area or style of play, designed to take advantage of your opponent’s flaws. For example, if they’re particularly prone to conceding from set pieces, you might want to focus heavily on Attacking Set Pieces. This will come at the expense of Team Cohesion and Attacking Movement, which will instead receive your usual levels of attention, but the extra time spent on Attacking Set Pieces may be the difference between winning and not winning.

You are able to use the specific focus even if you have no immediate fixture – which is perfect for honing an area of your squad and style. Spending a longer period of time working hard on executing a plan correctly will pay dividends.

LAM

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I have a concern about this, having put quite a lot of emphasis into match preparation.

It takes a lot longer for a squad to learn 2 or 3 formations compared to just one - that is reasonable. I've taken the path of focusing on one formation until all the bars are fluid, before starting on a second. By the way, let me stress - one FORMATION, not one TACTIC. I alter player roles massively from match to match, and use shouts very liberally in-game. There's plenty of variety in my tactics, using a single formation.

I have also started my campaign with the option 'team blend' and the workload on maximum. This means I want my team to be playing well as quickly as possible - takes about 6 months with my boys, then I can reduce the workload so that their individual training development can kick in. My thinking is, winning games keeps morale high, which in turn leads to more effective training.

What I'm unhappy about is this: I appreciate that most of the match prep options are to prepare for the next game only, so if you focus on defending set pieces, it's only against the next opponent. Fair enough, but the exception is 'team blend' which is supposed to be cumulative. As I say, I mostly stay with team blend and week by week the bars fill up. However, on the occasions I take 2 days out to focus on one of the other options, the bars drop right down, and weeks of team blending are lost. This seems unreasonable to me. The bars should stall, not drop from fluid to awkward after 3 days. Another observation is that of all the bars, mentality seems to progress far more slowly than the others. Therefore, for me anyway, if I followed wwfan's points in #1, my bars would never increase. i'd like to know if this is the same for others or not; if not, let's consider my next paragraph.

This is my experience. In another thread a poster reported that his bars filled up after 6 weeks, whereas for me it's six months. Here I might point out that I'm starting out in Level 9 with a squad of teenagers - many 16 and 17 year olds with just a smattering of 20-somethings. Therefore, the squad as a whole has very poor mental attributes. If it's the case that my squad are learning very slowly due to footballing unintelligence, that's a good touch by SI. I don't know if that's the reason though, so it would be good to get more reports of how long squads take to learn the manager's tactics and what the variables are.

Hmm I was under the impression that training Team Blend just increases the team gelling (under the Assistant Report) rather than tactical familiarity. Not sure why your bars dropped though...

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I think that I too am favouring the one tactic and team blend approach, until my team is more fluent with a system, rather than trying to get my team to work on more than one system at a time.

I'm perhaps of the same thoughts as wwfan with this implementation. Although I like the concept and it's potential, it's a little discouraging if switching between match strategies will significantly damage any or all of you match preparation work.

I will certainly be interested to see how this implementation develops over time though.

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If you want the bars to fill the fastest you have to set the focus on none. This will have make all the match prep workload goes towards getting your squad familiar with your tactic. If you put it on team blend it will help blend your team together (go to your assistants team talk report to see how your squad is doing in this area). All the other options only give your team a boost in a certain area for the next match.

I usually start the season with team blend until my squad has a good understanding and then put it on none so my squad focus on learning the tactic and when the bars are on a reasonable level I start using the other focus areas depending on the upcoming fixture.

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If you've seen my thread and squad clearance policy, you'll know that "team blend" is vital for me at the moment ;)

Funny how I always end up with squads that look more like a United Nations committee meeting... Certainly can't accuse me of being a xenophobe! :D

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I don't like how this works. Personally, I believe strategies should be contained within the formation, with all variants being trained as part of the system. I think the current method limits match dynamism, which is a misstep in development. I'd accept that changing playing styles should change the familiarity, but not match strategies, which should be fluid. I just use standard and shift up and down in matches.

This is kind of what I was afraid of with the introduction of the Match Preparation in it's current form. I hadn't gone too much into detail on this feature as I had been more concentrating on getting the Closing Down & Defensive Line (more or less) correct for the different strategies, so - as you - I just left it at 'set to formation' and chose 3 formations. The positive side is that I think it is a good addition as it allows FM Gamers to have a more visual effect of what they are attempting strategically and how effective it might be (a form of squad 'gelling' that has been discussed around the forums for quite a while now). I think that it is only natural for managers anywhere to gain experience on what they do on a day to day basis and how effective it is, the more work and detail they get into = the better chance they have of gaining success.

But it seems that you are a little concerned that it might be somewhat 'limited' as you know as well as I & a lot of the Community that sometimes you need multiple strategies to be thoroughly successfull. The good thing is that the TC made it much more accessible for gamers to quickly 'zoom in' on what type of strategies work best when, meaning in which scenario/circumstance - where the detailing around this aspect is well explained in this thread :thup:. I think we should be able to 'learn' different formations if one so desires, because it gives you a larger range of options that can fully complement your squad - which is handy if you switch clubs from time to time or you need a certain formation to battle more effectively an opposition formation. Experience and the effectiveness of it will no doubt bring gamers closer to understanding how the ME is built up and know more of the effects of the instructions/sliders played out on the ME...

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If you want the bars to fill the fastest you have to set the focus on none. This will have make all the match prep workload go towards getting your squad familiar with your tactic. If you put it on team blend it will help blend your team together (go to your assistants team talk report to see how your squad is doing in this area). All the other options only give your team a boost in a certain area for the next match.

I usually start the season with team blend until my squad has a good understanding and then put it on none so my squad focus on learning the tactic and when the bars are on a reasonable level I start using the other focus areas depending on the upcoming fixture.

Yes, I've just come to this conclusion myself, and am currently opting for 'none' with max workload until all the bars are filled.

Heath, my level 9 squad is very "UN" too - in fact I nickname them the 'Fugees, because I imagine them as refugee children. I only have one actual foreigner in the squad, a 29 year old Slovakian who came from Nantwich, but I have loads of teenagers who are English with dual nationality - I have an Anglo-Afghan, Anglo-Iraqi, Anglo-Ethiopian, Anglo-Gambian, Anglo-Indian, and others who are fully British but have very Asian names.

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When ever you use TI ingame, or shift around sliders in your tactic (ingame or outgame), your bars will drop. IT is considered that you "change" your tactic ... so it becomes less familiar to players...so bars drop.

It's stupid, if you ask me, ... don't use TI and don't improve tactics if you want fluid team blend...so if your team plays bad you have to choose between fast fluid or poor game!

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Great thread WWFan.

I don't like how this works. Personally, I believe strategies should be contained within the formation, with all variants being trained as part of the system. I think the current method limits match dynamism, which is a misstep in development. I'd accept that changing playing styles should change the familiarity, but not match strategies, which should be fluid. I just use standard and shift up and down in matches.

Amen.

Agree with Loversleaper's post as well.

Any plans for SI to change this for a future patch perhaps?

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Speaking of match strategies, my next game is against St. Albans City in the FA Cup 1st Round Crouchy ;)

For this one, I've opted for focus on defending set-pieces, as it looks like your boys have a couple of giant centre-backs I'll have to be mindful of, from corners and free-kicks! One's 6'6" and the other is 6'7".

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Speaking of match strategies, my next game is against St. Albans City in the FA Cup 1st Round Crouchy ;)

Come on you Saints! :p

For this one, I've opted for focus on defending set-pieces, as it looks like your boys have a couple of giant centre-backs I'll have to be mindful of, from corners and free-kicks! One's 6'6" and the other is 6'7".

Ben Martin and Ryan Frater, by any chance?

The former scored a hat-trick in one match a couple of seasons back, purely from set-pieces. Wise decision, heathxxx. ;)

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Come on you Saints! :p

Ben Martin and Ryan Frater, by any chance?

The former scored a hat-trick in one match a couple of seasons back, purely from set-pieces. Wise decision, heathxxx. ;)

Aye, that's them :)

Won the match 3-1 and they were indeed dangerous from the set plays, but looks like that pre-match focus paid dividends. My own defence performed excellently containing them.

We were 3-0 up before St. Albans clawed one back late on, which interestingly was on the counter after they had changed formation to utilise an AMC, who I neglected to change my OI's for after they changed. Needless to say, he was the man in space who gathered the ball from a long punt upfield by the keeper. He controlled the ball, brought it forward in the space he had, then slotted a ball through for the striker to slot in quite easily.

At that point, they had nothing to lose and went 4-2-4. I decided to go to a "control" strategy, put my full-backs on "defend" and just passed the ball around for the remaining ten minutes.

Purely as a point of interest for you though, St. Albans City are currently 14th in the BSS.

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Great thread WWFan.

Amen.

Agree with Loversleaper's post as well.

Any plans for SI to change this for a future patch perhaps?

I'll try to have a chat about it. It is working off a different logic than the TC, which is a little strange.

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Hey wwfan!

I just wanted to thank you for your match-prep guide! i find it really usefull in my game! =)

i also wanted to ask you, i combined your pre-match guide and wolfsong's teamtalk guide into one spreadsheet for personal use, but i think it turned out pretty well, and i was thinking about releasing it on the forum, would you mind?

i haven't changed anything, so of course you would be given all the credit =)

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Interesting read, been using the match prep very similar but what you said opened my eyes a little, thanks.

One thing i wish would be able to do though, is the option to set a reminder note after every game, so match prep can be changed accordingly to who your playing next, i keep forgetting about it till a day or so before the game thus not getting the full effect(or is it affect)

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Team Blend

This is the only focus that stacks up, and the only focus that is not active during a match. Instead, it’s active in between matches. Having Team Blend set as the default special focus, and then focusing on a specific area one day before a match will give you double the benefits. What Team Blend does is to increase player relationships, gelling them together, which increases morale and performances.

From mantralux's FM2011 Training Masterclass thread which is supposedly agreed with by SI. Any thoughts on this gentlemen?

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If you've seen my thread and squad clearance policy, you'll know that "team blend" is vital for me at the moment ;)

Funny how I always end up with squads that look more like a United Nations committee meeting... Certainly can't accuse me of being a xenophobe! :D

Would know what your 'home grown players' rating is......... Bloody traitor ;)

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An example of when decision making goes right

In a recent away game to my ex parent club, I made a series of decisions that really illustrate how pre and in-match management works. Having been promoted to the Championship with Crewe, I wasn't expecting much other than a consolidation season. I thus decided to focus on team blend throughout the season to stabilise my squad for what I was hoping would be a competitive second season. Because I wasn't going to get any real help from Match Preparation, I focused on making the right managerial decisions during the match and in the dressing room. Halfway through the season and my almost fully gelled team is majorly overachieving and in the play off spots. To ensure the gelling process is squad wide, I am using a rotation selection policy, with players rarely appearing in three matches in succession. This also has the advantage of keeping players relatively fresh during the winter months.

After two matches in really draining conditions, I have to play Brighton, my ex parent club, away. I rotate my players so I have as fit a side as possible and start the game with the 'If we play well, we can win this' team talk, opening with my standard away strategy against mid-table teams (Counter). When I check on the Brighton players, I can see that they aren't anywhere near as fit as my team. The weather is cold and the ground is hard, with tackles are producing injuries for both sides. However, the lack of fitness in the Brighton team sees two of their players going off with injuries during the first quarter of the match, whereas my players are shaking off their knocks and returning to fitness. When Brighton's second player is taken off, I make my decision about how to approach the remainder of the match.

I decided to play for 0-0 until the 70 minute mark, at which time I'll sub off a couple of my tiredest players and try to grab the win. Because Brighton were more unfit at kick off and had to make two early substitutions, I knew I'd have a real advantage in the closing stages. I got the team to play cautious, possession focused football to get the Brighton players chasing the balll. At half time, I praised those that were performing, told most of the team the game was still there to be won if we played well, and told the under performers to pull their socks up.

Early in the second half, Brighton lost another player to injury, meaning that I'd have a serious fitness advantage towards the end. My team played solid possession football until the 70 minute mark, never looking like they would score or concede. On the stroke of the 70th minute, I put the strategy into play. I subbed off my two tiredest attacking players, switched to Control, upped the passing intensity so I could more easily attack the final third (Get Ball Forward) and opened up space (Drop Deeper, Play Wider) to force Brighton to chase even further. Five minutes later I was 2-0 up and Brighton were down to 10 men, with yet another player going off injured as he overstretched himself when defending the build up to the opening goal. I then subbed off a tiring defensive player, switched to Counter and saw out the match, although still playing over a wider area at higher tempo than I had for the first 70 mins. Brighton, by now exhausted and stretched to their limit, were reduced to anti-football as they repeatedly fouled my team whenever they broke forward, resulting in four yellows in the last quarter of an hour.

This type of rotation and condition/team specific strategy has seen my team move into second and begin to stretch away from the chasing pack. I have had a series of press conferences in which the media congratulated me on my ability to win matches while resting key players and a post-match analysis stating 'Crewe show it is possible to win with kids' when a half time team talk turned a close game into one-way traffic after two early second half goals demoralised the opposition. My high levels of attention, based around the processes explained in the OP, are producing results above and beyond my expectations and promotion to the Premiership is now looking a real possibility.

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That's very much how I play, wwfan - glad it's not just me. I'm also relieved the the opposition are just pixels because as a manager I must have a sportsmanship attribute of 1. I also deliberately target low condition players for the 'treatment'. Along with unfit players, low bravery and nervous ones get 'reducers' with a selective use of hard tackling. As a result, the opposition pick up far more serious injuries and red cards than my team which means I can use tactical substitutions in the same way you do. I find this an enormously helpful strategy in the lower leagues; I suspect that it might not work in the highest divisions where players are likely to be fitter and more committed.

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wwfan, you make some very good points about space in your example you gave above.

Until you pointed it out, I never really considered playing deeper to make more space. When chasing a game I usually used to push up, and play in their half more.

The default defensive tactics in the TC are actually pretty rigid when you get into the higher leagues. I tried something different last night, these might seem obvious to some but for me it was a bit of a revelation:-

When defending a lead or playing a team i was expected to lose against, I pushed higher up the field, but still pretty slow and narrow, dictating posession. More often than not I'd go in 1-0 up or 0-0. I'd continue the same philosophy in the 2nd half, until the opposition were tiring. Then I'd hit them with a socker punch, I'd allow them to play a little. Switch to a deep, wide, fast tempo game to create space around and behind them for the remaining 30 mins, and more often than not I'd win by 2 or 3 or play out a 0-0 draw.

When chasing a lead, I now also play deeper and wider, and quicker rather than the default attacking settings.

Very rewarding to play this way, with just a normal 4-4-2 and not much tinkering, just watching the game and picking your moments.

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The Drop Deeper shout was something I used to utilise whenever I played Real Madrid in FM2010. Real played with a deep 4-4-2 (i.e. 2 DMCs, AML/AMR) and I used a deep 4-2-3-1. To counter that style, I used to drop deep, play narrow and press hard. This had the result of making Real getting balls to wide players very difficult as my wingers would cut inside and press the DMCs from the angle and my FBs made passes to the flanks difficult through their narrow positioning, which allowed them to step up and intercept quite regularly. This meant that the DMCs often were isolated in possession and forced to play direct balls to the FCs, who were then closed down by my DMCs and DCs before the rest of the team could catch up with play.

The tactic resulted in the less naturally fit of my front four being shattered on the hour mark as they had done so much chasing, which I would anticipate with my team selection. For example, I always selected my hardest working AMR against Madrid (Teamwork 19, Work Rate 20), even prior to his being my senior AMR, simply because I knew he'd press and harry all match, even when feeling tired. My original first choice AMR, although far more of a goal threat throughout his career, just didn't have those qualities and always sat out the Madrid derby. I had an exceptional record against Madrid and always dominated play against them. Unfortunately, the AI is not intelligent enough to counter my counter measures just yet, but hopefully, over time, it will be.

For those interested in my Crewe game, this is how the season finished. We dropped to third with two games to go, losing 2-1 at home to Leeds in the penultimate match. My team played well throughout the Leeds game and had the best open play opportunities, but a sloppy backpass and a thirty yard screamer undid all the good work. Post match, I used the Sympathise team talk in order not to put the team under too much pressure and expectation for the remaining match, away to mid-table Swansea. The Leeds result saw me being 2 points behind Leicester with a 3 goal worse goal difference which, with Crewe having scored less, would actually require a four goal win if Leicester only drew their last game. With such a daunting challenge, I was determined to everything in my power to give my team the best possible chance of success.

In the pre-match Press Conference, I was asked about Leicester's chances against Exeter, who were dead last and doomed, and decided to ramp up the pressure on them by saying I expected them to win easily. I also reduced all expectations of my own team, stating the match would be tough and we'd be lucky to win, which I followed up with a No Pressure team talk. From the kick off, I could see the reduce pressure strategy had worked, as my team were obviously playing well, being first to every loose ball and winning most of the 50-50 challenges. Early in the first half, my FC broke into the box only to be brought down from behind by the last man, resulting in a red card and a converted penalty. I immediately went wide and deep to take advantage of the extra man, and scored two well executed goals (I was already using the Work the Ball into the Box shout as conditions were warm and dry and the pitch in a good state, meaning intricate passing moves were a possibility). At half time, with Exeter v Leicester still being 0-0, I had cancelled out the goal difference and only needed one more goal to make Leicester have to win.

I continued with the policy of Control, Wide, Deep, Work Ball and started the second half as I had finished the first, in total control and looking like scoring every time we went forward. Then came the good news. Exeter had taken the lead. Amazingly, they then scored a quick second to have a two goal advantage. Once this happened I went to Overload to try and get the fourth goal. I'd have hated to not go up because Leicester managed to grab two late goals to get the point whereas I had been over cautious. Leicester quickly pulled one back and it was all up for grabs. I was peppering the Swansea goal, but nothing was going in. I hit the post, had shots cleared off the line, and saw the keeper come up big when it mattered. All the risk and effort for no reward, meaning it looked like I was going to have to rely on Exeter holding out. With about five minutes to go, yet another goal in the Leicester game decided my season. Exeter had scored a third and there was no way back for the Foxes. I went back to Control and saw out the last few minutes with no incident, winning promotion by one point on the last day of the season. I've no money and no EPL quality players, so next season is going to be very tough, but I sat back and enjoyed the moment.

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Good post wwfan.

This is the type of stuff I love reading about on here. Not the 'super tactic' threads, but the t'his is how I go about my business, these are the decisions I took and why', type of threads. More philisophical debates.

These threads have so much more to give to the user, and make the game much more rewarding. It's just like reading our own version of the zonalmarking website for FM users. Thanks for sharing.

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Great thread.

Allow me to get back to match preparation.

Does anyone have an insigth on this:

After the sliders are all maximized is it ok to reduce workload - for example to 20% - in order to maximize the normal training regime and therefore player attributes?

If i do so i guess i will loose the boost regarding that specific game. But is it worth it or shoul i keep Match Preparation at least in 30%?

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Aragao

It's a balance between how much bonus you need and how much training with the ball you want your players to recieve. I usually fill the bars on the match prep screen, reduce the workload to average or low and then just choose a routine 'Attacking Set-pieces, Defending positioning etc' when I have a difficult fixture coming up. Seems to work for me, but experiment with what you find best.

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Thanks mate

I guess it makes sense. I'll try and follow that path. And maybe harden up a bit match preparation if the playing against big sides.

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Good post wwfan.

This is the type of stuff I love reading about on here. Not the 'super tactic' threads, but the t'his is how I go about my business, these are the decisions I took and why', type of threads. More philisophical debates.

These threads have so much more to give to the user, and make the game much more rewarding. It's just like reading our own version of the zonalmarking website for FM users. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks. I'm slightly frustrated that the concept of building a super tactic and pressing continue to win still dominates these boards. There are so many tools to work with in the game that it seems such a waste to try to win through exploiting ME holes. You don't get to experience anywhere near the full amount of depth of the game. Working out the correct micro-slider tweaks to design super tactics can't be anywhere near as enjoyable as knowing why you have won and seeing your decisions make all the difference.

Each to their own I suppose.

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Surviving in the Premiership is proving to be very difficult. I don't have the players or the money to buy the players. I'm 5000-1 to win the title, which are the longest odds I've ever seen in FM. My previous lowest in FMs was 2000-1.

My overall strategy has been very simple. Take the pressure off the players at almost every opportunity, except when we are playing a struggling team with shot morale, when I try to push for a result. If I get it right, it stops my team getting too depressed after the inevitable losses against the big clubs and gives them a really good morale boost when they pick up the wins. If my morale was any lower, I'd probably lose to these teams as well, so keeping it around OK is incredibly important.

My tactical strategy has evolved over the course of the season as I've not been fully certain about how to set up my front four (FC, AML, AMR, MCC). I tried the AMC as a playmaker, but the team never had enough ball for him to be effective. I tried the FC as a Target Man, but, despite him being relatively good for the role attribute-wise, but he isn't quite physical enough to cope with EPL defenders and keeps on losing cheap ball in that role. I eventually settled on a B2B and Poacher set up as it produced simpler and more effective football on the break, which is pretty much the only way I get forward.

Any strategy more aggressive that Defensive gets me killed away from home, so Defensive to Contain rule these matches. At home, it is more of the same except when I play morale shot sides, when I use Control. My key players are the AMR and AML, who are both speed merchants (the AMR especially so). I play them both as Wingers/Attack and do my level best to get the ball to them quickly. I generally Exploit the Flanks, Clear Ball to the Flanks and Get Ball Forward just to give myself a chance of them getting onto balls over the top and outpacing the defence. I often get them to specific mark their FBs to keep them tight on their shoulders so they can have the best chance of running down just won possession. The FC is also given a specific marking role. If I start with my quick FC, he marks the slowest DC. The taller one marks the smallest DC. I start the match with the FC I think is least likely to score (i.e. the one with least height/speed advantage over the DCs) and play him for an hour. I then hope the incoming sub can use the extra fitness level to give himself half a chance of scoring.

Does it work? Well, I'm sitting in 15th half way through the season, with the highlight being a 2-1 away win over Liverpool. I don't score many goals and regularly get hopelessly outplayed, but I do do well against out of form teams, grabbing one goal wins against them on a regular enough basis to have a hope of survival. My right winger is my star player and top scorer, with my tall defender and FC being joint second with 3 goals each! My left winger has been out injured most of the first half of the season, with his replacement struggling to do a job, so I'm hoping his return to fitness will be the extra boost the team needs to keep clear of trouble. My substitute FC policy has produced a few late goals, with the key one being an 82nd minute winner away to Sunderland, who are in the bottom three, which saw the returning to fitness AML breaking onto a ball down his flank and laying in a cross for the FC (jumping 15) to beat his man (jumping 10) to the ball and slot it home. I may still go down, but I'm in the driving seat, being the best of the bottom six teams (big gap between 15th and 14th) half way through the season.

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One question I have is about Match Preparation. I can choose 3 different tactics....I have gone for a 4-3-3 as my current/main and then a 4-5-1 and a 4-4-1-1.

Now my question is that one match I may decide to have an attacking 4-3-3. However, then next match I may choose a standard strategy but with the same 4-3-3 tactic. So all I would change is the team mentality and maybe the defensive midfielder to an anchor man role.

Now, would that affect how the team is able to perform or is it the fact they know the formation (4-3-3) that they can perform it no matter what the mentality I choose? Or do I have to choose 4-3-3 for all the 3 tactics and have attacking, standard and defensice as seperate options?

Any help would be appreciated

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wwfan, you stated above you just use standard and shift up and down during matches. Can you explain what you mean by that?

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wwfan, you stated above you just use standard and shift up and down during matches. Can you explain what you mean by that?

Lwt him correct me if I'm wrong, but depending on match situations he changes his strategy. I do just the same, always begin on Standard, if that' not enoguh to win then I play Control or Attacking, so basically change the strategy according to match situations.

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