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Help me out of the gutter


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TL;DR at the end.

So I start my journeyman game, similar to each year. L2 (lowest playable) in the Hungarian league, with a custom team, far worse than any other in L2, mainly amateur players, no money, etc. I start as Sunday league footballer and lowest licence. Been playing FM for years, so I enjoy the challenge.

Season 1 (L2):

I try my usual tactics, disaster ensues no matter how I tweek it. I'm in drop out place by December, luckily the board only expects me to stay clear of relegation. I then create 3 completely seperate tactics from scratch and 2 of those actually work, a 4-3-3 and a 4-4-1-1. I can't play the 4-3-3 everytime, cause I only have 1 set of players for it (AMR/AML), so if they are injured or tired I stick with 4-4-1-1 which slowly becomes the default.

I manage to stay in the league just barely, I was one point above relegation on the last round and... drew. My luck was that the guy behind me lost, so I stayed in. Nailbiting stuff.

Season 2 (L2):

I bring in a few players for free, it isn't difficult as I found lots of players during the season. To be fair, finding players that are better than my current crop isn't really a challenge. Players are getting familiar with my style of play, all is set to go. I stick with the 2 known tactics, although I only use the 4-3-3 seldomly, only if I consider myself favorite (the game never considers me favorite). The 4-3-3 is really creative and gives free roaming, which in lower leagues players can't fully utilise.

I manage a runner up place! I'm exstatic, although deep down I wouldn't mind if I had another season to prepare for the first league. I had huge amount of luck just to get there.

Season 3 (L1):

Close to a full swap of players. Only around 4 of my regulars remain, I spend some cash including a whooping €70k to sign a brazilian named Juninho, who is by far my best player. I tweek both my tactics a bit to suit him and off we go.

Expectations aren't even "stay in the league" but rather "do your best to stay in the league". That's exactly how it pans out. I play defensively most of the time with rigid tactics and it pays of. I'm mostly in the drop out zone, but sometimes I come out of it. Then suddenly form hits in and I win 5 of the last 6 games and come in 7th (12 team league btw, you play each team 3 times).

Season 4 (L1):

Expectations still avoid relegation. I now actually have some money, so I spend. I bring in players I could only dream of before and although I'm not in league with the big boys, I know have a handful of foreign players. Including a very good keeper, a brazilian stricker, an AM from Cyprus and a Canadian CB. All really good.

Season kicks off and I'm dead last. I mean bottom of the league by far. I had 1 single win and a couple of draws and it's half time. Nothing I do or say can change things, it's as if my players have forgotten how to play.

So what on earth can I do? I decided to do some checks after loosing to the team before me at home. I reloaded and went on holiday and the ass man did win the game. So I reloaded again and replayed twice, but lost twice. The assman used the same tactics as I did and same players. So after 2 losses I tried ass man again, and he won again. So I replayed the fourth (!) time, this time the full game not just highlights... my players can't pass. They don't win a single challenge and they can't shoot. It was pure luck that it ended 0-0.

The exact same game; me: 3 losses & 1 draw while ass man: 2 wins. I know this is too few tries to count as proof, but it is disturbing.

TL;DR:

My team suddenly has a drop of form and there is nothing I can do to get them out of there. My Ass Man gets results while I can't. What I've done:

- They react well to my team talks, even after defeat

- My team meetings raise moral

- My tactics hasn't changed and I'm not using only one tactic

- My expectations are still "try to stay clear of relegation"

- I create friendlies (which I duely win) in between matchdays to raise moral

- The team has a great togetherness, noone complaining or having issues

- I have gone to 2 personal trainings on licenses (finished the first, doing the second)

- Other than Juninho and my keeper, the other are very low profile players, so can't be my reputation either

I don't know what's going on, but it frustrated me so much that I dropped FM for a couple of days now. I decided to request help (it doesn't fit in the tactics forum as I'm positive it's not that, as I've been overachieving with them for 2,5 years now).

- Is the problem with moral?

- If yes, how can I raise it (above all that I done)?

- If not, what else could it be?

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Its almost certainly tactical.

By tactical people generally mean every input that you can enter into the ME. This means roles/duties/TIs/PIs/OIs mainly and to a lesser extent the players themselves (which gives you attributes inc hidden ones) as well as team talks & media comments which affect the morale & mentality of the players.

Saying that reading through your OP it doesn't sound as bad as you seem to think it is.

S1 - Fairly poor team, you pull it together and survive relegation.

S2 - A bit more organised, other teams don't rate you yet and you take advantage of the space they leave to win promotion.

S3 - Tough step up which you probably aren't ready for but cope well, make some good decisions and survive.

S4 - Other teams probably take you a little more seriously and leave you less space than S3. You think you've improved the squad but its just not working for you atm.

I don't see a huge amount wrong with that tbh. You've made good decisions in S1-3 and been rewarded and now you've hit a little bit of a wall. It sounds like a bump in the road rather than a major problem.

Your AM has got some results so its fair to say the players are capable so you need to focus on the choices you make during the games. Are you watching the games? Are you making changes when things aren't going your way during a match?

Football tends to be decided by fine margins and you need to be able to identify when something isn't working in a match. Once you've identified an issue you need a plan of how to improve it.

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Your AM has got some results so its fair to say the players are capable so you need to focus on the choices you make during the games. Are you watching the games? Are you making changes when things aren't going your way during a match?

I usually watch only highlights, but in that specific last game I mentioned, I watched the full match. My scare actually came from that, they play as if they are not capable. It wasn't bad luck, that I can grumble about and let go. The problem is that they play dead poor, they loose 1-on-1's, they pass poorly, they don't mark players even when specifically asked... something is definately wrong. I know I overachieved previously, but my team isn't THIS bad. Even the 2 newly promoted teams are way ahead of me!

I can upload the save tomorrow night when I get home. If you watch any of my games, you'll see what I mean. That's why I tried the ass man thingie out of curiousity and he did win with the same team (twice). Maybe it's my Sunday League footballer thing kicking in? That shouldn't stop players from kicking the ball straight though.

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change your tactics, it's cracked by AI, you are predictable as every tactic has counter tactic, even with cracked tactics some can still get results if they improve players, seem you have same crap players plus predictable tactics will result in sacked in the morning...

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Sounds to me like you've bought some better players, give them a little more room to showcase their talent.

Keep the same shape, but think about how (whilst maintaining balance) you can get the best out of them.

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change your tactics, it's cracked by AI, you are predictable as every tactic has counter tactic, even with cracked tactics some can still get results if they improve players, seem you have same crap players plus predictable tactics will result in sacked in the morning...

The AI doesn't "crack" tactics and never has.

Spreading false information doesn't help anyone including yourself!

The AI does change tactics though depending on the situation and given that every formation and tactic has strengths & weaknesses its certainly possible for an AI manager to change to one that counters yours. Likewise its equally possible for an AI manager to change to one that is inherently weaker against yours.

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change your tactics, you are predictable as every tactic has counter tactic, some can still get results if they improve players, seem you have same crap players plus predictable tactics will result in sacked in the morning...

are you happy now, seems some can't read between lines.

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I usually watch only highlights, but in that specific last game I mentioned, I watched the full match. My scare actually came from that, they play as if they are not capable. It wasn't bad luck, that I can grumble about and let go. The problem is that they play dead poor, they loose 1-on-1's, they pass poorly, they don't mark players even when specifically asked... something is definately wrong. I know I overachieved previously, but my team isn't THIS bad. Even the 2 newly promoted teams are way ahead of me!.

I can understand that frustration.

Why don't you post a screenshot of your tactic and the instructions, it would give us a clue as to what is going wrong.

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Its nothing to do with tactics. You've destroyed the team cohesion by adding too many players. And you might have done a less than optimal job maintaining morale. Team cohesion & good morale are more robust than tactics. Your tactic can be easily undermined by the opposition's tactics. Cohesion and morale not so much. In Fm15, at least, once you have good cohesion and morale you can, and I've done this, just pick random tactical options and it wont make much difference. This myth that the AI cracks your tactics in the next season you play is this effect in operation. People buy and sell players in the off season, damage cohesion, and then wham! They start losing and blame it on "ai cracking their tactics".

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Agree with the above posters - your squad will need some stability (i.e. limited chopping and changing of personnel) so that they'll have a chance to get to know, and learn how to work with each other.

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