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What can lower league players do?


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I have a question about the capabilities of lower league players.  By "lower league," I mean leagues with players whose attributes often don't exceed the lower single digits.

I've wondered if it's possible for teams at this level to play effectively with a tactic that requires them to do anything but whack the ball up the pitch and run after it.  I'm wondering which of these scenarios would be more likely to happen?

Scenario One:  My players don't have much technical skill and they don't always make good decisions; their attributes might not be higher than 4 or 5.  However, their opponents aren't smart or skillful either.  In fact, I've managed to find players who are better at these aspects of football than most of their opponents.  As a result, we make some mistakes, but we play a style that's somewhat pleasing to watch.  We can play out of defense when I want us to.  We can string together a pretty passing sequence from time to time. We might not have as much physical prowess as the other teams in our league--for example, our pace and strength are below league average--but we can capitalize on our relative advantage in other areas and contend for a title.

Scenario Two:  Although my players are comparatively better, technically and mentally, than our opponents, they're still rubbish.  That average score of 5.50 for Decisions might be one of the better marks in the league, but it's still low, and as a result, if I try to have our players do anything more than the bare basics, they'll screw it up with alarming regularity.  Meanwhile, week in and week out, we're bullied by the physically dominant teams in our league.  Their pace and strength get the better of us every time, and I'm sacked for failing to keep us out of a relegation battle. 

I'd appreciate hearing from any of you who have more experience with FM than I do, which will be many, many of you.

Cheers,

Tom

 

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Scenario 1 is possible, if the physical disparity isn't too great. But 2 us a likely outcome if you are intent on relying on technical skills without a few players that can at least match the other team physically.

The problem is that technical skills aren't single stat dependant.

Let's say you want a good passer. You need a decent pass skill to make the pass. And a decent vision to find the pass. And a decent anticipation to pick the right spot to pass it to. Plus let's hope he isn't pressured, else he needs composure to not fall apart under the pressure. And here is hoping he has decent consistency and isn't in a big match he dreads, both of which drop his mentals.

But Speedy McDumb? He needs speed. Maybe some work rate to motivate him to get there, some stamina to keep him going, and some acceleration to get that first step. Who cares that his consistency is junk and he hates big matches -- it only lowers his already junk mentals, so no real loss. His composure and off the ball is crap, but it doesn't matter because he can generally find space eventually and thus avoid pressure. Took a bad line because of poor anticipation or decisions -- all good, got the speed to correct and still get to where you need to be.

Now each will make a lot of mistakes, and either can be decent with the proper use. But generally speaking Speedy McDumb will be more useful in more ways in more matches.

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For lower leagues, I look for acceleration and determination. For a third stat, maybe determination again. The other physical and mental stats are important, too, but those are the two I prioritize. After that, I look for role-specific technical attributes. As Vince says, either of the scenarios are possible. And to second his statement, I'd prioritize physical stats over technical ones. Strength, stamina, and acceleration make a big difference and put your players in a position to do well or help them to get back into position after the inevitable dumb mistake. The most physically gifted team in the league might not get promoted, but they're (add the disclaimer: probably) not going to get relegated.

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Thanks for your replies.  I had a feeling that assembling a squad of players of Speedy's ilk might be the best idea.  There seem to be more of them available in the lower leagues, too.  I might have to wait until I'm managing a bigger club to make my dreams of playing truly attractive football come true.

From that, it seems to follow that a simple tactic, with very basic roles and duties, would be the right choice to enable Speedy and his mates to do their thing.   Do any of you ever try to employ more "specialist" roles with lower level clubs?  And, if you do, how well does it work?

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8 hours ago, Tom Ashley said:

Thanks for your replies.  I had a feeling that assembling a squad of players of Speedy's ilk might be the best idea.  There seem to be more of them available in the lower leagues, too.  I might have to wait until I'm managing a bigger club to make my dreams of playing truly attractive football come true.

From that, it seems to follow that a simple tactic, with very basic roles and duties, would be the right choice to enable Speedy and his mates to do their thing.   Do any of you ever try to employ more "specialist" roles with lower level clubs?  And, if you do, how well does it work?

It's not that it's ugly football persay. They just make mistakes. Everybody does at that level. Heavy touches, bad passes, boneheaded plays. But that said, I have really only played this single LLM save, so I don't really know beautiful play. You don't miss what you don't know. :)

I have the same squad playing a high tempo attacking tactic and a slower possession. They can do anything. 

Personally, I think you can play any role with them. I don't play "specialist" roles because they don't fit into my system, but I don't see anything to suggest they can't. I have several pretty customized player roles that demand a lot of the players, including giving Speedy roaming, risky passes, and complete freedom to do whatever. I regularly feature 3 such Speedys and a few Strongman McCrush and I'm pretty sure they were all average rating over 7.25 last season.

Last season my top 3 passers (by completion percent and pass number) all had less than 10 pass and vision attributes. You can get good minutes from nearly any player if you set them up to succeed.

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14 hours ago, Tom Ashley said:

Thanks for your replies.  I had a feeling that assembling a squad of players of Speedy's ilk might be the best idea.  There seem to be more of them available in the lower leagues, too.  I might have to wait until I'm managing a bigger club to make my dreams of playing truly attractive football come true.

From that, it seems to follow that a simple tactic, with very basic roles and duties, would be the right choice to enable Speedy and his mates to do their thing.   Do any of you ever try to employ more "specialist" roles with lower level clubs?  And, if you do, how well does it work?

As Vince says, it doesn't mean you can't play somewhat pretty football. My Conference North team used a DLP, and we were physically a good team with quality Passing and Off The Ball. Our decisions, anticipation, and the like weren't great, but we still played solid, possession football. We used More Direct Passing and Pass Into Space, but it was far more than just lump and chase. In the Conference National, we added an AP. Our team didn't get a lot better physically, so we were below average in most everything. Still, with midfielders who could pass and a team full of players with good Determination and decent Flair (but everything else below average), we won the league. The style of football was a lot more attacking, and we had better players overall, so it was nicer to watch, but it didn't change that much. The tactic was almost the same, and while we still made some stupid mistakes, we made less.

This year, we're in League 2 and chasing the title with the same basic setup (a bit less attacking), a lot of the same players, and a few improvements. I notice a lot more quality up front, but I'm back to using a defender who was my Conference North star. He made the step-up to the National and won team player of the year and is back in the team again averaging over a 7.00 after my new signings haven't been that great. I've turned away a couple of stars with very low determination and still prioritize physicals. As the players improve in quality, you get more well-rounded footballers, but I still have the same basic standards for them. The football is slowly improving in quality, but it's still not perfect. The players are a little more technical with every promotion, and I ask a little more of them each time, but there are still some atrocious decisions.

Ozil to the Arsenal used a Roaming Playmaker at DM and a Complete Forward at ST in the Conference National (if memory serves). The game will say the players are awful at the role, but if they have the stats for it, they can do it. I've heard it a lot, and my experience bears it out as well. Don't worry about what the green pie looks like. Think about the roles and whether the player can perform them and especially about whether they fit into your tactic. Designing your tactic so that there's lots of full green circles is very likely a recipe for disaster.

One caveat to all of this is that you're saying players that are around 4 or 5 in their skills. I've had players with lots of 1's and then decent numbers in other attributes, but I haven't encountered players that are low single digits across the board...at least not that I've looked at for more than a second. If you're playing at some lower league far below the quality of the Conference North in England, the physical stats are probably even more important. Maybe you have some custom databases with custom trash players loaded?

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Thanks for these replies, gentlemen.  You're giving me lots of food for thought, and that's why I posted my questions in the first place.

@Vince Lombardi :  I think I see what you mean when you mention that everyone's making mistakes at the lower levels.  If they were all executing perfectly, it wouldn't be an accurate representation of lower league football.   There are fast men and big, strong men, and if they had better technique and a better feel for the game, they wouldn't still be playing at lower levels.

@Cuenca Guy :  Yes, I have a custom database that includes leagues below the Conference.  I'm looking at starting with a team in the County Leagues, and at that level there are plenty of players who have 5 or below for most attributes.   I'd guess the players in the lower leagues from some of the countries that are part of the out-of-the-box database aren't much better.  

I read somewhere that Football Manager's game engine isn't really suited to work well with leagues below the seventh or eighth tier in England.  If that's the case, I might not try to manage lower than that.

 

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I used an enganche, libero, DLP, Trequartista, F9, Inverted Wingback, Regista in Conference South with Gloucester. It doesn't matter, you are only as good as the teams around you. Of course if you meet a team thats a lot better than you, then all kinds of bad start happening. Think about it in simple terms, does he have the basic attributes to play and what are is attributes vs the rest of the league.  They will make mistakes, they won't be as good as the best. So I elect to play to my strengths, get them all on fitness training for the WHOLE SEASON, make sure they are faster, more hardworking than the rest of the league. Then when we get promoted, bring in another 11 players rinse repeat. Playing lower levels is the hardest challenge, you can play decent football and use any role in the game, but you need to check their attributes out. One thing I will never play in lower leagues is the complete forward.

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10 hours ago, Rashidi said:

"...One thing I will never play in lower leagues is the complete forward."

If you don't mind me asking, why not? I play a CF in Vanarama National League, and it works great...

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On 7/4/2017 at 15:43, Rashidi said:

I used an enganche, libero, DLP, Trequartista, F9, Inverted Wingback, Regista in Conference South with Gloucester. It doesn't matter, you are only as good as the teams around you. 

@Rashidi :  I've started a lower-league save, and I've got a player who has the attributes to make a good Enganche at our level.  My best striker is a fairly good lower-level approximation of the player you describe as a "Diego Costa"-style striker--decent first touch (especially for his level), strong as an ox, brave, hard-working, and determined.  I've never tried the Enganche role.  Do you think my "bully" center forward can pair well with an Enganche, and if so, what role do you think might be the best for him?

Thanks!

 

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To add to this there are some "soft" guidelines in place that mean the AI is discouraged from picking a player with low CA for certain roles, for example the "fancier" attacking roles such as Trequartista.

I would recommend that when selecting your roles at lower league level this is kept in mind. Low level CA players often simply lack the required spread of attributes to pull some of the more complicated roles off effectively.

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