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sporadicsmiles

Tactical frameworks and squad building - an in depth guide to how I approach FM.

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Great topic, with your choices very well explained. The trick is to keep it simple, which is easy and hard at the same time. Looking forward to your following post.

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On 22/04/2019 at 08:36, baggi0 said:

Great topic, with your choices very well explained. The trick is to keep it simple, which is easy and hard at the same time. Looking forward to your following post.

Thanks! I find it is easy to keep things simple, it is just hard to do it in the face of what feels like overwhelming complexity. I am a scientist, and when we have complexity (which is all the time) we try to break it down in manageable simpler problems that we can understand individually and then put together to understand the whole. That is pretty much what I have been doing here. I think also just having a plan helps.

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On 19/04/2019 at 22:43, sporadicsmiles said:

Opposition instructions.

Finally, a word about opposition instructions. I get the feeling these are not very popular here. Indeed, I remember reading one of the people here (I forget who) saying that OIs are for people who do not know what their tactic is doing. I am going to make a counter argument for this, based on creating pressing zones.

Currently, in the game, you cannot create zones of the pitch where you press, and others where you do not. I try to mimic this with opposition instructions, targeting specific positions. This means that my team will close down players in specific areas of the field. Which is quite nice.

Great input. Like your postings a lot. But one question: Are OIs really the only way to let your tactic work? I play FM Touch, because no time for the full experience at the moment. With Touch It is not possible to save OIs for special positions. So I think there is no way to try out your ideas for my own tactic.

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5 minutes ago, Frostberg said:

Great input. Like your postings a lot. But one question: Are OIs really the only way to let your tactic work? I play FM Touch, because no time for the full experience at the moment. With Touch It is not possible to save OIs for special positions. So I think there is no way to try out your ideas for my own tactic.

Almost certainly not. I do not think many people actually use OIs like this (or they do not post about it) and are able to achieve similar things. I use OIs because it seemed like the obvious way to create zones where we press and zones where we don't. I started to do this before the concept of line of engagement, so it was harder to define when and where to press. I think you could achieve very similar effects using player instructions for closing down. They way I have presented it, I actually look at a global picture for closing down. I do not necessarily tell certain players to close down, but trust that they will not do anything too stupid from my instructions. You can approach it from the polar opposite, and focus on exactly how you want specific players to press. Players are still more likely to close down the players around them; my striker will rarely find himself in the position to close down a left winger for example. So individual instructions will be able to replicate this. I just find them a little bit too unspecific, but that is personal.

The most important thing is to have an idea of what you want the players to do when they press (this is pretty much true always, know what players should do and it is so much easier to set them up). If you look at my OIs, you can see that I want my front three to be closing down like demons (everyone in their area is closed down more in the OIs). They harry the defense to force mistakes/aimless clearances. I want this because I like how Klopp's teams look when they do this. I want my midfield to close down less, but I do want them to try to stop the other team having too much time on the ball. They have to balance closing down and holding shape. I'd actually have the CM(A) closing down more than the DLP(S) actually, since he should be further forward when we lose the ball typically. So very high pressing for forwards, high pressing for the CM(A) would be where I would start. You can adapt this for any tactic really, just think what each player should be doing and add the corresponding instruction. And do not forget to check they are doing what you want!

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This is probably one of the best threads I've read on here. 

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Loving this. Your tactic/philosophy is already very similar to how I like to play (no surprise that I'm loving life under Klopp). Your post on squad building definitely has got me thinking. Especially how you deal with contracts. Might do a bit of a clear out after this season. I definitely hang on to players a bit too long hoping to sell them for bigger fees if/when they grow even if I don't quite trust them. Having a tough brexit definitely also doesn't help, with a few English fellas in my squad who are the 'best of the rest' in England for their position.

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8 hours ago, Cleon said:

This is probably one of the best threads I've read on here. 

Cheers :D. It is something I have been meaning to do for a long time now. 

4 hours ago, Riziger said:

Loving this. Your tactic/philosophy is already very similar to how I like to play (no surprise that I'm loving life under Klopp). Your post on squad building definitely has got me thinking. Especially how you deal with contracts. Might do a bit of a clear out after this season. I definitely hang on to players a bit too long hoping to sell them for bigger fees if/when they grow even if I don't quite trust them. Having a tough brexit definitely also doesn't help, with a few English fellas in my squad who are the 'best of the rest' in England for their position.

Klopp plays nice football, I really like to watch it. Which is interesting coming from a family of Manchester United fans (I am a Huddersfield fan, so right now I would settle for seeing football). The way I see things, tactics will help me win matches and do as well as I should. Squad building is what will bring me long term success. Whether that is progress up the table, or sustained winning of trophies. I really think that squad building is one of those aspects that is super important but does not get as much coverage as tactics (or they are folded together). I mean, that makes sense, it is a tactical forum. Tactics should and do dominate the discussion. I am about to actually start my summer transfer process in my save this evening, so I will talk about this in the next post, and be able to actually use current examples of what I will try to do.  

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Posted (edited)

- How did you setup "pressing" for the front three, IF-A, W-S and DLF-S and the CM-A?

- You don't use any other Pi's?

 

Cheers

Edited by poma

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Just came across this and read from start to finish, thanks for an enjoyable read @sporadicsmiles. It was almost as though I was reading a write up of my own FM style! These, along with real life tactical replications, are among my favourite topics on here.

On 20/04/2019 at 12:13, sporadicsmiles said:

I want the DLP and DM to basically be interchangeable. This is again critical to making my midfield work.

This again is very much my style. In most cases I play the same shape to you and see the midfield trio as key to how the tactic works. In my recent save (taking over a bottom of the table Wolves in December) I have created a very reliable and interchangeable midfield as shown (with the exception of Coady who is one of my two first choice CBs)

1257004952_WolverhamptonWanderers_PlayersPlayers-2.thumb.png.45b56ef8a81553a4f828b44bd2ef31ea.png

Van de Beek and Bazoer brought in for 20 million, and 4.8 million respectively. The rest already at the club. Like you I'm never keen on big transfers and big wages, but van de Beek is pretty much my vision of a perfect midfielder so was worth the 20 million fee.

One question I have though. Whilst my CMa is also my favourite role and set in stone, (young Gibbs-White is a demon here!) I sometimes struggle with the guy beside him. Like you I primarily play with a DLPs, but sometimes feel the (lack of) movement of the role stifles play a bit. Have you tried any other role in that position with any success? I tried both CMs and BBM but wasn't convinced either offered more than the DLPs. Similar with the DM strata, have you tried any other roles? Occasionally, with relative success, I have tried a HB in there when coming up against two strikers to offer my two CBs an extra man. 

Again, thanks for an enjoyable read and look forward to any more updates

Wolverhampton Wanderers_ Players Players.png

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Hi @sporadicsmiles, I wanted to thank you for the interesting reading that you proposed on this forum that pushed me to create a system for my beloved Juventus and that allowed me to exceed expectations with respect to reality, in fact I reached the semifinals of Champion's, won the Italian Cup and the Serie A without ever changing anything throughout the season and often clicking on Instant result (I'm on FM Touch and therefore also nothing OI). It's based on the 4-4-2 because Juve defends like that and also because it's my favorite shape.  I wanted to show it to you and the community to know what you think about it and if you would change something or if you have any suggestions on how to improve it. The TI is the same as yours, on the other hand I was already playing with the preset style Gegenpress and this is a simplified version or if you want purified. The PIs are close down more for wings and forwards.

 

 

4-4-2 sporadic.png

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6 hours ago, poma said:

- How did you setup "pressing" for the front three, IF-A, W-S and DLF-S and the CM-A?

 

I use the OIs for my pressing. If I feel that the players are not getting enough pressure in a particular match, I will ask them to close down more. 

6 hours ago, poma said:

 - You don't use any other Pi's?

 

Not any fixed ones, no. There will be times when I think "damned, we need more bite in midfield" so make them tackle harder. But I do not have any I use religiously. 

 

5 hours ago, TheresOnlyTwoFilipSebos said:

Van de Beek and Bazoer brought in for 20 million, and 4.8 million respectively. The rest already at the club. Like you I'm never keen on big transfers and big wages, but van de Beek is pretty much my vision of a perfect midfielder so was worth the 20 million fee.

 

I would not have bought Bazoer though, he does not fit my criteria for determination. I would never have even seen him on my scout reports! I like your midfield though. It is so versatile. Everyone can do a bit of everything. 

5 hours ago, TheresOnlyTwoFilipSebos said:

One question I have though. Whilst my CMa is also my favourite role and set in stone, (young Gibbs-White is a demon here!) I sometimes struggle with the guy beside him. Like you I primarily play with a DLPs, but sometimes feel the (lack of) movement of the role stifles play a bit.

I want my DLP to be quite static, though. He is part of a double (maybe 1.5) pivot at the base of my midfield. So I do not really play around with this much. All the movement in the centre of my formation comes from the CM(A) and the DLF. There interaction is what I want to see. The DLP is more like the glue to keep it all together, and keep parts of my teams talking. I want him to be always there for a pass when we have hit a brick wall during an attack. Gibbs-White looks a lovely player too. I have a young regen about to come back from loan who is going to give me selection headaches for sure. 

4 hours ago, sovy666 said:

It's based on the 4-4-2 because Juve defends like that and also because it's my favorite shape.  I wanted to show it to you and the community to know what you think about it and if you would change something or if you have any suggestions on how to improve it.

If it based on what you like, and it is being successful, do not change anything! There isn't really a right way to do things. I think part of this thread is to show that you can build success from a simple set of your own ideas of how football should be played. I'm generally reluctant to give general advice, because I would just end up telling everyone to play like me. I can tell you what I like though. 442 with two attacking wingers, you have chosen to close down with that front four. They will be high up the pitch, and I imagine that can cause all kinds of issues for the opposition. 

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53 minutes ago, sporadicsmiles said:

I would not have bought Bazoer though, he does not fit my criteria for determination

Ah the exact same dilemma I had when buying him! But due to his ability to play any of the midfield roles, a host of other very desirable attributes, and the fact he was less than 5 million was enough to see past the lack of determination. Like you I also aim to see a player leave the club a better player than when he came. And despite the determination factor, I reckon this guy will be a far more complete player in a couple of years time. 

1 hour ago, sporadicsmiles said:

The DLP is more like the glue to keep it all together, and keep parts of my teams talking.

I like this way of looking at that role. I think I was expecting too much from this guy, hence trying out a more roaming sort of role. But the reality is there is plenty of movement ahead, and even more coming from the back in the shape of the full back. Sometimes less really is more in this game!

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43 minutes ago, TheresOnlyTwoFilipSebos said:

Ah the exact same dilemma I had when buying him! But due to his ability to play any of the midfield roles, a host of other very desirable attributes, and the fact he was less than 5 million was enough to see past the lack of determination. Like you I also aim to see a player leave the club a better player than when he came. And despite the determination factor, I reckon this guy will be a far more complete player in a couple of years time. 

Rules are more like guidelines anyway! I break my rules all the time in various minor ways. Not very often the determination one, it has to be a really spectacular player. And preferably young enough that the team can have a positive influence on him.

 

44 minutes ago, TheresOnlyTwoFilipSebos said:

I like this way of looking at that role. I think I was expecting too much from this guy, hence trying out a more roaming sort of role. But the reality is there is plenty of movement ahead, and even more coming from the back in the shape of the full back. Sometimes less really is more in this game!

Well, if you want him to roam more, I'd make the DMC the lone playmaking pivot to can be open for recycling the ball, and then play around with the newly liberated central midfielder. What role you would give him would entirely depend on what you wanted him to do, of course. That way you will retain most of the things already in place, but change up the dynamic enough to possibly generate something that looks and plays quite different. Since you also treat the DMC and DLP as interchangeable, it should actually not make a huge difference in principal. 

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1 hour ago, sporadicsmiles said:

Rules are more like guidelines anyway! I break my rules all the time in various minor ways.

Same! I'm forever breaking my own rules. I had a Rangers save where I promised myself I wouldn't go over 30k a week wages... until my star man was wanted by half the european big dogs. Once I caved with him, they all wanted more! It's a slippery slope. 

On a serious note though, do you ever struggle against certain formations? The counter attacking, direct, long ball, Claudio Ranieri flat 442 has proven to be a nightmare for me. Any suggestions welcome

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4 hours ago, TheresOnlyTwoFilipSebos said:

Same! I'm forever breaking my own rules.

They are "rules. I am currently writing up my next post where I will talk about breaking my transfer policy to buy John Stones. Because the chance was too good to turn down. While you can play with fixed rules, you should not unless you are making a challenge for yourself. 

 

4 hours ago, TheresOnlyTwoFilipSebos said:

On a serious note though, do you ever struggle against certain formations?

I cannot beat Zidane. At all. Ever. He usually absolutely batters me no matter what I try. I typically also would do poorly against teams with 2 DMCs if I do not mix things up. Those posts are coming soon  Where I talk about how I alter my approach to counter specific teams or managers. I actually plan to talk about how I owned Pochetino just by understanding what he was doing with his team. In my second season at Leicester, I played them 4 times (I think) and scored 4 goals in 3 of those games. I won them all. All of them in similar ways. 

I did not touch on this yet because I think this is a little bit more advanced. Spotting exactly how to counter something is hard. For me still. I mean, I get battered by Zidane every time I play his teams. I wanted to give general tips anyone can follow before I started to talk about how I deal with matches on a game by game basis. It is more complicated, because I think everything I spoke about so far applies generally. You can use the second post to set up any formation. But the way I counter specific teams is entirely based around my play style. And I find it hard to generalise this. 

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Posted (edited)
On 24/04/2019 at 19:48, sporadicsmiles said:

Wide players. This is like fullbacks but with an extra caveat. They have to be all right (or left, it does not matter so long as they are all the same) footed, or very good with both feet. I rotate these positions a lot, because they also get through a lot of work. So all should be able to start.

Key players are exactly what they sound like. They are the best players in my team, who will start most matches and who I really do not want to lose. Aside from playing a lot, and being great, they get long contracts. As long as possible. I want them at my club long term. So get them tied down, and keep them tied down. I try to keep them on contracts of at least 3 years. This makes them a lot more expensive to buy, so either you get no offers, or very big ones. It also means if a player gets unsettled, you never have to worry about them running out of contract. Only when they start to approach the end of the careers to I keep these players on shorter contracts.

Rotation players are again exactly what they sound like. They are the players who are not first choice, but can do a job. These guys are fluid. There are a bunch of rotation options at every level. So you can almost certainly replace these guys. If you think you cannot, they are key players already. Treat them like it. Contractually, this means I will assess them every 6 months to see if I want them in my next 18 month plan. Can I get someone better? Has a youngster taken their place? I rarely have them on contracts longer than 3 years. I want to be able to get rid of them easily when the time comes. Bids for these players are always negotiable and a fair price is always accepted.

Really enjoyed these parts, I notice that squad status is a vital part in the organisation of a team. 

My main issue for myself is philosophy however. I typically want to stay strong defensively, conceding as little as possible, but when I start playing I often ramp up the mentality in order to gain goals. This is due to either going down to wondergoals/flukes that can occur when you defend deep, or I'm only 1-0 up and want to consolidate my lead. It's difficult to maximize the potential of one aspect (defending) without compromising the advantages of another (attacking). How did you go about this?  

I've also been wondering about the Zidane approach, taking previously imbalanced yet world class footballers and fitting them into a dangerous, record breaking team. Any ideas?

Edited by FlairRA
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5 hours ago, FlairRA said:

My main issue for myself is philosophy however. I typically want to stay strong defensively, conceding as little as possible, but when I start playing I often ramp up the mentality in order to gain goals.

I had the 3rd best defence in the league in my last season. And the 3rd best attack for that matter. I think a solid defence does not necessarily mean a defensive approach. I would not classify my approach as defensive, but we are still good defensively. Typically, unless I have terrible defenders, I do not concede many goals. Ramping up the mentality does not mean you will concede more (or score more). Everything is interlinked. 

In terms of how I avoid this, I try to play a positive game. My defending starts from the front with the pressing. I try to give teams less time on the ball so they cannot build from the back. Pressuring these players also means they cannot easily take advantage while your team gets back into position. I also do play more conservatively when playing bigger sides. This does not mean lowering mentality though (although sometimes I do). I will usually take off counter press, so players fall back into their positions faster. If I am being more defensive, I will try to be more direct too. Usually, making a DLF(A) so I have an outlet. I will be doing some posts over the next week about countering teams or changes I make in games, so maybe this will help make it clearer exactly how the team plays. I have not really touched on it yet. I will analyse matches, and may put pkms on here too so people can watch as they wish.

6 hours ago, FlairRA said:

I've also been wondering about the Zidane approach, taking previously imbalanced yet world class footballers and fitting them into a dangerous, record breaking team. Any ideas?

It goes against how I usually play, so I did not think much about this. It would entirely depend on the players you had. What I would was assess the players I had, find what they were best at, and try to design something where I could maximise their potential. It is a bit of a hand-wavy answer, I know. If you take the second post, instead of working with a blank slate to start, I would have some positions where I knew what the players would have to do. Then I would design the other roles to best fit around them. 

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I do not really have a clever quote to open this one. I do not think Sun Tzu had to deal with football transfers in his life. That is okay though, because transfers are a direct extension of my squad management. They are intimately linked. I keep to my 18 month rule, and I go into every transfer window knowing exactly what I need.

Just a note about how I deal with the summer and winter windows. Summer transfer windows are where I try to sign all the players I need to keep the squad balance the way I want it. All my main signings are done in this window. It gives me preseason to bed them in as well. In the winter transfer window, I will either sign nobody, or I will keep my eye open for young players who I can bring in. The only exception is when the first window you have at a club is the winter window. They I will try to fix the squad the best I can.

Knowing exactly what I need to do in a transfer window.

1030843759_currentsquad.thumb.png.9e92e02ec234514e23ee4c7307ddeae4.png

Here is a picture of my current first team squad (conveniently with ratings from the last season). By the way, I love how almost every single first team player has an assist or a goal in the previous season. This gives you an immediate idea of how I trust my squad to play. Of the players I know I will keep, only Murillo and Josias have less than 10 games started. Murillo is a young prospect in a competitive midfield, so his games were all about experience. Josias arrived in January so only had half a season, and needed to be settled into the squad. He is also a young prospect who will eventually inherit the right wing.

You will notice I have highlighted some players. Those in red are players I know will be leaving. Evans and Vardy are retiring. Benkovic is unhappy with his playing time, and his contract is expiring. I do not need him, so he can leave. Actually, he was in my plans, but last summer Stones was available for 17.5 million, and this was too good a chance to pass up. More on that later. These are players I will need to replace. I definitely need to sign a backup defender. A young striker would also be nice. Finally, Bereszcnski and Doherty are approaching 30, so if I can find a young right back good enough to play, I will look to bring him in and possibly sell one of these players.

The players in orange are those who either will be phased out this season, or who I really can afford to lose. Schmeichel is 35 now, and probably does not have that much time left. I have a really capable backup (Garcia) who will be transitioned into the first team this season. This is part of the 18 month plan. Pearson just is not as good as the other players in my team. I keep him because he is English, and helps with registration rules. However, as I will discuss later, I have a midfield pileup problem incoming, so he probably needs to move on.

So my transfer window is very simple. I know exactly what I need going in. I will not be scrambling around at the end looking for players. I plan to get the main business done early.

Identifying Players. Using the shortlist.

I typically operate two shortlists. One is the general shortlist. Here players I am interested in from scout reports get added. They are not necessarily immediate targets, but they are players to keep an eye on for the future. I curate this list a few times a year to weed out players who I probably am not going to sign ever (either they moved to a big club, got too good for me, did not develop well). Here is a snapshot of this list right now. I have several positions covered, so I always have targets.

1020852805_longtermshortlist.thumb.png.f5eb2ce1df9c4aa332cdef89fc6e0f19.png

The second shortlist is my transfer window shortlist. This is for the players I am seriously considering signing in the current window. This allows me to focus myself on those players. I will typically add way more players than I will sign, to keep my options open.

101480843_transferwindowshortlist.thumb.png.f40442414b3fedd9a0288909eb54671e.png

Here is my current shortlist. There is actually a player missing who I did sign. You can see it has CBs, DR and a striker. On this list I do not expect to be able to sign the two players from Real Madrid. They are wonderful young players. I put them here just to test the waters about a possible move. The RBs are also not really urgent yet. I will test the waters here, see what I can do. Carson is a player I have had my eyes on for two years now. Watford were relegated, so I am going to try to unsettle him to see if I can get his as a replacement to Vardy.

Using the transfer list.

While I like to plan ahead, you cannot always do this. I will always keep a close eye on the transfer list. You never know who will be listed. As I mentioned above, last season when John Stones was listed, I was not looking for a CB. It was such a good deal though (17.5 million for an international defender who is home grown in nation) that I snapped him up immediately. Do not be afraid to change you plans and sign a player who is too good to turn down. Even if it messes with the long term plan, signing Stones was absolutely the correct thing to do.

Picking the CB to sign.

Since I just did this, I can show you an example. I had two players I was keeping my eye on for CB as a backup. One is Mepham, who played for Watford and is listed after relegation. He is young, an international, and has decent stats.

mepham.thumb.png.cafdfc8606443efd4a16f73f995bb90a.png

The over id Hoedt (who you can see I signed). He was a player I looked at last season too, but decided against buying because I did not need him. He moved to Liverpool, never played, and was listed by them. He is slightly older, but again has excellent stats to be a solid backup or rotation option in my defence.

Hoedt.thumb.png.0773aebf0ee2565a935fd97740991792.png

Why did I end up choosing Hoedt? It was actually mostly a wage issue. I made offers for both, and decided to see who I preferred. Mepham wanted 92k per week, which is too much for a backup player who will start 4th choice on the depth chart. Hoedt I could sign on 51k, and managed to get Liverpool to pay 10k wages too. He was also much cheaper (10 million versus 22 million). Simple thought process again. I did this right at the start of the window. My defence is optimal again.

The midfield crisis of the future.

Just to show you that even the best planning can go awry, I will soon have an issue in my midfield. I currently have 7 players in my midfield. Which is already one more than optimal, although Pearson is entirely a backup. The problem comes in the form of another player I signed last season.

1165991488_mifdieldissues.thumb.png.c3778174702f6b475c9c4a8eb528268c.png

This kid is awesome. He will be perfect for the CM(A). I signed him for 2.3 million from Sheffield United, and loaned him back for the season. I did this partly because they forced it on me, and partly because he needed significant playing time. He is back from loan, which makes 8 midfielders. Too many. However, I am happy with my midfield, and there is nobody I immediately would cut from the first team picture. I could loan this guy out again, but he is good enough to start games for me this year. As a hot prospect, I can get away with it this season, but if he gets better I will have to decide how I am going to rebalance my squad. I have not decided how I will deal with this. I fear Hojbjerg may lose out.

Unsettling players to make them easier to sign.

This is something I will touch upon, because I see many threads where people are irritated by the AI doing this, but do not try to do it themselves. You want to sign a player but the club is not interesting in selling? What do you do? I have this situation with Carson.

2016650202_strikerlongtermtarget.thumb.png.b368c984065b6dfbddb666cda0055ee0.png

Great young English striker. Perfect as a replacement for Vardy. Especially the English part, as you will see my side has a South American flavour at the moment, and eventually I will hit registration problems. Watford do not want to sell, and right now he does not want to leave. What I do is make sure to declare interest, to scout the player often, and to make a crappy transfer bid that I know will be rejected. All of these are to try to force the “player wants to leave” conversation. Unsettle him, making him unhappy, make him ask to leave, and bam. The player is available and may be cheaper.

The AI does this all the time to your players. You should also do it to them. It does not always work, I have to say. I did not have success with Carson yet. It is not urgent, however, because I have backup for the striker position anyway. I will keep working on him until I can turn his head. Or find another signing.

Conclusion

This is not really a ground breaking here. It is common sense, and I guess most people do similar things to this. The main point is that this is fundamentally linked to squad management. You should always go into a transfer window with a plan. Know what you team needs, and know which players you want to bring in. However, do not be afraid to jump on a player you see listed if they are too good to turn down. No point missing out because you were too rigid.

This will be the last post about squad management and building. I am going to get back to the tactical side of things next. I want to look at how I prepare for games against the AI? Scouting them, preparing for them, changing things to counter them. The mystical stuff that can be so baffling. Let’s see if I can explain that simply too.

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12 hours ago, dokera said:

@sporadicsmiles, could you uncover your approach how to grow youth and transfer/loan policy in relation to it?

I do not really do anything special with kids. I have not really tackled the new training module yet. It looks complicated and I need to try to understand it better at some point. Right now I leave it to my assistant and he does a great job. I make sure he is a similar coach to how I would be, and let him have free reign. I do set all individual training myself though. 

With young players, the things I proactively do is to give them as much game time as possible. Depends on the player how much. I usually have factored in young players to my long term plans, so their involvement is ramped up over time. Meaningless games are good for this. The league cup (or foreign equivalent). Games in the UCL if you make it out of the group early. Games at the end of the season if you have nothing left to play for. Also give them substitute appearances. Exposure to the first team has a strong positive influence on a player.

In terms of loans, there are only a few times when I use them. My young players who are probably never going to make the first team can be loaned at will. Typically from age 17-20 is when they will be loaned (once they are out of the U18 side. I will not loan out every player. Only if I think there is a reason. Either the player will never make it at my club and may as well go play somewhere else, or will benefit from the loan in terms of progression. As soon as a player is good enough to be involved in my first team, I do not send him on loan. I'd rather he played less games for me than a full season on loan. The exception being when there is no space for a player to rotate in and out of the squad. Goalkeeper, for instance, is not an easy place to rotate. Central midfield is currently another one for me at the moment.

In terms of transfers. If I can rely on my own youth system I will. I actually keep everyone around for as long as possible. Anyone who has a chance to be a decent backup is worth keeping as they are home grown. In terms of scouting players, I just let my scouts get on with it. I will give them assignments to look for youth in areas of the world where good youth tends to be found. This is why I have a bunch of south american kids in my current squad. Talented players from small teams should be signed always, if you can afford it and they get a work permit. They are almost always at a good price. From bigger clubs, it depends on the price. 

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One of the best threads on here by a long stretch. Excellent and simple (in a good way) explanation of how and why you do things. Kudos to you sir. 

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Cheers for the feedback guys. I intend to post some more things as well, but it has been a rather busy couple of weeks which has limited my time. I want to touch on some of the specific changes I make during matches to get the most out of my players, and show you why I do it.

If there is anything else people would be interested in, and it is something I can expand on, feel free to let me know.

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13 hours ago, sporadicsmiles said:

If there is anything else people would be interested in, and it is something I can expand on, feel free to let me know

For example, how do you handle pep talks in different situations, including pre-match, half-time and post-match? Or press conferences (unless you leave them to your assistant). Also if you possibly use quick shouts during matches.

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On 11/05/2019 at 02:06, Experienced Defender said:

For example, how do you handle pep talks in different situations, including pre-match, half-time and post-match? Or press conferences (unless you leave them to your assistant). Also if you possibly use quick shouts during matches.

Team talks and press conferences go together for me. They are both there to motivate players, to take off pressure (or add it), and to elicit the correct response from players. As such, it is entirely situational, and it quite difficult to assess every single scenario that may occur. I will try to give an idea of some of the things I do.

Firstly, I always do my own press conferences. I am not sure exactly how much they affect matches, but there is something to it. As I noted, press conferences are about motivation and taking away pressure. It can also be about taking criticism for the team, and giving out praise when it is due. Some questions I almost always do not answer because I do not know what to say. Usually I ignore direct questions about opposition players, why bother motivating them. I am usually neutral about other managers too. Either take the middle ground or say nothing. Do not give free motivation.  Same for the "who will win the league". Unless it is me, and I want to give the players a kick in the arse, I will ignore this question. 

Let's take a couple of examples in full. Firstly, imagine we are playing against a team we should easily beat. It is quite early in the season (i.e. there is no particular pressure on this match). The team has been performing well. How do I handle press conferences and team talks?

Well, in pre match press conferences I will try to praise the team to make them happy that they are playing well. I will keep my eye on their recent performances and body language. If there is no real sign of complacency I will make sure questions such as "any worry about complaceny" are dealt with by saying "no". Mostly because I do not. This is because I do not need to make them worry. If they are playing well, just let them get on with it. No need to make them get nervous about a game when they were not before. There is rarely need to add pressure to a game. On the flip side, if I have noticed some complacency in the side (either from performances - goals from players switching off - or from body language) I will be a bit more harsh. Tell the press I am concerned about complacency and the players need to be too. When we get to the pre match team talk, there are two options. If the team are playing well and won well last time, I use "go out and play like last time" or whatever the option is. Couple it to a "have faith" individual talks because it seems to make players happy if they respect you. If I want to guard against complacency, I will tell them I expect a win. This adds pressure, but I want that to fight complacency. I also often couple this to "have faith" (which is basically saying I expect you to win, but I have faith that you can). I use "expect a performance" for players who are particularly difficult to motivate (although I do not have many players like that now, because of how I built my side). I will deal with half time and full time team talks separately. For a post match press conference, same rules as the pre match. Praise players as appropriate. If I struggled to win a game we should have won, I will often criticise the team. Give them a bit of motivation going forward.

Now the opposite extreme. Let's take another game we expect to win, but this time at the end of the season. When we are fighting for a title. We need to win it. This is a very high pressure match. Pressure can be a good thing. Players who have the attribute to handle pressure will often step up for these matches (James Maddison was the player who did that for me at the end of my last season, he was immense). However most players will tend to be negatively affected by pressure. For big games (and the end of the season when fighting for something) press conferences and team talks are all about removing as much pressure as I can. In press conferences, this means avoiding predicting we will win, or that we are favourites. This is okay if you actually are, but if you are not you add a bucket load of pressure onto the players. I struggle for exact example right now, because I would to be in this kind of press conference. You get the idea though. Take the pressure off the team by deflecting questions as much as possible. For team talks, I do much the same. I am a lot less demanding of players in team talks. I avoid things like "do it for the fans" because that is adding pressure. I also avoid "no pressure" because that is clearly a lie. Say whatever you have found will motivate them. I typically will tell play their natural game. Or I have faith. I will almost always use "have faith" individual team talks. This kinda thing is more tricky, it took me a long time to work out how to do it, and it is dependent on the players you have. You have to learn how they will react to know what to say. I do not think there is a correct way that works always. I mean, if I had a team of players who enjoy big matches I might try to ratchet the pressure up, maybe it would work, I never tried but who knows.

There are a bunch of things in between. I cannot cover everything. The main idea is to use common sense, and think of the situation. Oh, and I love the "get revenge" thing, always seems to motivate players. I'm not sure the extent team talks affect matches anyway. 

Regarding half time team talks. These are of course situational. I am much harsher on my team winning only 1-0 at home to Nohope FC (aka Huddersfield, signed a sad Terrier) and playing poorly, than I am when losing 1-0 to RichAsFluff Rovers (aka all my rivals) away. The aim here is to motivate your players to do as best as possible in the second half. Only yell if they really, really deserved it. Like losing to Nohope FC! You can yell at the end, at half time you are motivating your players. A lot of the time if we are comfortable at half time I do not say a thing. If there is nothing to say, say nothing. I will only praise if we have just absolutely flattened a team and played beautifully. I think the last time I did that was when we came from 0-1 down away to Benfica to lead 3-1 at half time after some sensational play. 

Full time team talks are also situational, and you should take some care what you say. If your team has been on a poor run, and you finally scrape a win, be nice. Even if they were actually below what you expect, be nice. Moral and motivation will be gained. Conversely, a team who are in good form but scrape a win can be told they were crap if they were. Otherwise it is again common sense that follows from the situation of the match. I will give overall team talks based around the situation, and individual team talks to address player performances. If a player has done well, do not be afraid to give him a lot of praise. This can be very beneficial sometimes. Equally, do not be afraid to lay into a player who played badly. Also do not criticise too many players if you say "well done" or vice versa. This makes no sense, and upsets the players (which does make sense, "you were good guys, except you 7, you sucked" is not consistent). 

This is not as coherent as the other posts, mostly because I think it is less important so I spent less time thinking about it, but also because this is a huge subject area. As with everything else I have posted, know your players and how they react, and know the situation you are in. From there, common sense pretty much guides your hand fairly well.

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5 hours ago, sporadicsmiles said:

Team talks and press conferences go together for me. They are both there to motivate players, to take off pressure (or add it), and to elicit the correct response from players. As such, it is entirely situational, and it quite difficult to assess every single scenario that may occur. I will try to give an idea of some of the things I do.

Firstly, I always do my own press conferences. I am not sure exactly how much they affect matches, but there is something to it. As I noted, press conferences are about motivation and taking away pressure. It can also be about taking criticism for the team, and giving out praise when it is due. Some questions I almost always do not answer because I do not know what to say. Usually I ignore direct questions about opposition players, why bother motivating them. I am usually neutral about other managers too. Either take the middle ground or say nothing. Do not give free motivation.  Same for the "who will win the league". Unless it is me, and I want to give the players a kick in the arse, I will ignore this question. 

Let's take a couple of examples in full. Firstly, imagine we are playing against a team we should easily beat. It is quite early in the season (i.e. there is no particular pressure on this match). The team has been performing well. How do I handle press conferences and team talks?

Well, in pre match press conferences I will try to praise the team to make them happy that they are playing well. I will keep my eye on their recent performances and body language. If there is no real sign of complacency I will make sure questions such as "any worry about complaceny" are dealt with by saying "no". Mostly because I do not. This is because I do not need to make them worry. If they are playing well, just let them get on with it. No need to make them get nervous about a game when they were not before. There is rarely need to add pressure to a game. On the flip side, if I have noticed some complacency in the side (either from performances - goals from players switching off - or from body language) I will be a bit more harsh. Tell the press I am concerned about complacency and the players need to be too. When we get to the pre match team talk, there are two options. If the team are playing well and won well last time, I use "go out and play like last time" or whatever the option is. Couple it to a "have faith" individual talks because it seems to make players happy if they respect you. If I want to guard against complacency, I will tell them I expect a win. This adds pressure, but I want that to fight complacency. I also often couple this to "have faith" (which is basically saying I expect you to win, but I have faith that you can). I use "expect a performance" for players who are particularly difficult to motivate (although I do not have many players like that now, because of how I built my side). I will deal with half time and full time team talks separately. For a post match press conference, same rules as the pre match. Praise players as appropriate. If I struggled to win a game we should have won, I will often criticise the team. Give them a bit of motivation going forward.

Now the opposite extreme. Let's take another game we expect to win, but this time at the end of the season. When we are fighting for a title. We need to win it. This is a very high pressure match. Pressure can be a good thing. Players who have the attribute to handle pressure will often step up for these matches (James Maddison was the player who did that for me at the end of my last season, he was immense). However most players will tend to be negatively affected by pressure. For big games (and the end of the season when fighting for something) press conferences and team talks are all about removing as much pressure as I can. In press conferences, this means avoiding predicting we will win, or that we are favourites. This is okay if you actually are, but if you are not you add a bucket load of pressure onto the players. I struggle for exact example right now, because I would to be in this kind of press conference. You get the idea though. Take the pressure off the team by deflecting questions as much as possible. For team talks, I do much the same. I am a lot less demanding of players in team talks. I avoid things like "do it for the fans" because that is adding pressure. I also avoid "no pressure" because that is clearly a lie. Say whatever you have found will motivate them. I typically will tell play their natural game. Or I have faith. I will almost always use "have faith" individual team talks. This kinda thing is more tricky, it took me a long time to work out how to do it, and it is dependent on the players you have. You have to learn how they will react to know what to say. I do not think there is a correct way that works always. I mean, if I had a team of players who enjoy big matches I might try to ratchet the pressure up, maybe it would work, I never tried but who knows.

There are a bunch of things in between. I cannot cover everything. The main idea is to use common sense, and think of the situation. Oh, and I love the "get revenge" thing, always seems to motivate players. I'm not sure the extent team talks affect matches anyway. 

Regarding half time team talks. These are of course situational. I am much harsher on my team winning only 1-0 at home to Nohope FC (aka Huddersfield, signed a sad Terrier) and playing poorly, than I am when losing 1-0 to RichAsFluff Rovers (aka all my rivals) away. The aim here is to motivate your players to do as best as possible in the second half. Only yell if they really, really deserved it. Like losing to Nohope FC! You can yell at the end, at half time you are motivating your players. A lot of the time if we are comfortable at half time I do not say a thing. If there is nothing to say, say nothing. I will only praise if we have just absolutely flattened a team and played beautifully. I think the last time I did that was when we came from 0-1 down away to Benfica to lead 3-1 at half time after some sensational play. 

Full time team talks are also situational, and you should take some care what you say. If your team has been on a poor run, and you finally scrape a win, be nice. Even if they were actually below what you expect, be nice. Moral and motivation will be gained. Conversely, a team who are in good form but scrape a win can be told they were crap if they were. Otherwise it is again common sense that follows from the situation of the match. I will give overall team talks based around the situation, and individual team talks to address player performances. If a player has done well, do not be afraid to give him a lot of praise. This can be very beneficial sometimes. Equally, do not be afraid to lay into a player who played badly. Also do not criticise too many players if you say "well done" or vice versa. This makes no sense, and upsets the players (which does make sense, "you were good guys, except you 7, you sucked" is not consistent). 

This is not as coherent as the other posts, mostly because I think it is less important so I spent less time thinking about it, but also because this is a huge subject area. As with everything else I have posted, know your players and how they react, and know the situation you are in. From there, common sense pretty much guides your hand fairly well.

Great! Thank you mate for such a detailed reply. I enjoyed reading and learning about the side of the game I am not the best at. Keep up the good work :thup:

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1 hour ago, Experienced Defender said:

I enjoyed reading and learning about the side of the game I am not the best at

Yeah, me too. I've never quite understood why so many FM players want to roleplay as some kind of psychopath - screaming, abusing their squad, always 'demanding more'. I've always had a great deal of success by just being 'normal': if they play well, I tell them they've played well; if they play badly, I tell them they played badly. And I do every press conference with one thought in mind: how are my players going to react to this?

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4 hours ago, warlock said:

I've never quite understood why so many FM players want to roleplay as some kind of psychopath

Or rather being confused when there is a dressing room mutiny, all the players want to leave and performances are crap. 

 

4 hours ago, warlock said:

how are my players going to react to this?

Exactly this. I respond in the way I think will get the most out of my players. Or create the least crap. Or not lead to a promise I cannot keep. I think the press conference side is useful and easy to get right, but you do need to think about it a little at times. 

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Do you give individual team talks to the individuals or the same talk to everybody? In the prematch talk I tend to select all the players and tell them that I have faith. At half time I tell any players with yellow cards to take it easy and then group select the rest and tell them to keep going or play better depending on the score. At full time I praise the best performers, castigate the worst, and explain substitutions. 

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Great stuff! The part on teamtalks is one of the best I've ever seen on that topic! I love how you explain your thoughts and actions in very clear and simple way. 

I try to play (and think) in a similar style, but tend to hastily click 'continue' just to get to the next match, until I hit a run of bad form and start to panic. Great posts to pause for a moment and reflect on my own game for a minute.

 

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1 hour ago, Hovis Dexter said:

Do you give individual team talks to the individuals or the same talk to everybody? In the prematch talk I tend to select all the players and tell them that I have faith. At half time I tell any players with yellow cards to take it easy and then group select the rest and tell them to keep going or play better depending on the score. At full time I praise the best performers, castigate the worst, and explain substitutions.  

At the start of the match I will give team talks broadly. So individual team talks are directed to the defensive/midfield/attacking units using the drop down tab. Usually I use "have faith" unless there is a good reason not to do so. At half time I only really give individual team talks to players who have really deserved it. Either for good or bad performances that stand out compared to the team. Full time I do broadly the same as you. Praise goes to players who stand out significantly above the others. Criticism when it is deserved, or when I think I can get some positive response from a player. I actually do tend to explain all substitutions to players. Either they did not play well enough, were being rested because we were in control, or as a precaution due to yellow card/injury. I do not know if this helps, it is just what I would want to happen if I were a player. It is one of those things that make sense to me on a very basic level of dealing with real people. I like to think it makes the players like me more, but I have no proof that is true. I should also note I will use warnings if a player has had a particularly poor match (less than 6.3). I am extremely harsh on players who get sent off too, I feel there is never an excuse for a straight red.

23 minutes ago, Meneltin II said:

Great stuff! The part on teamtalks is one of the best I've ever seen on that topic! I love how you explain your thoughts and actions in very clear and simple way. 

I try to play (and think) in a similar style, but tend to hastily click 'continue' just to get to the next match, until I hit a run of bad form and start to panic. Great posts to pause for a moment and reflect on my own game for a minute.

I'm glad it was useful. I think the game is quite simple if you think about what you are doing every now and then. Sometimes you can get away with being on autopilot, if things are going well. You just have to get used to spotting the signs that things are going awry. Spotting players who are falling out of form, or spotting complacency and nipping it in the bud before it becomes a big issue, for instance. You do not need to devote your entire attention (I rarely play FM and nothing else), but you have to keep aware of what is going on. That and keeping expectations in check, which is another major cause of frustration I think. Losing games you probably should lose, but expected to win really sucks.

I actually approach FM in much the same way I approach strategy games. I have been playing a lot of Total War (Attila) lately and the same things apply. I plan ahead so my nation is in a good place a few turns down the line. I plan my armies to do what I am good at in a battle, but pause and think before a tough battle. I look ahead for buildings with a long term plan for them. FM is a sports strategy game where you conquer the footballing world.

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