Simple tips for the frustrated
Consider playing as more than one manager in the game
All too often, inexperienced players start the game with top flight teams and have problems down the road when they struggle to get dominating results, and wind up getting fired, frustrated, etc.
As in real life, there are huge expectations with bigger teams, and the board/dressing rooms begins to slip if you are not where they think you need to be. The tolerance for not meeting those expectations is much less.
If you want to have your hand in managing your favorite top flight club, also consider adding another (or more depending on how much you can pay attention to) head coaches in lower leagues. This makes the game much more enjoyable, as well as gives you an idea of other concepts in the game, and lets you make mistakes without such harsh consequences.
The big thing is trying to make sure you manage a club with reasonable expectations, not bogged down with financial problems, and decent facilities.
There are no cookie cutter tactics plans to beat the game
This is a critical one that I think a lot of players don’t grasp. If you are completely clueless about tactics as we all once were, pick a few from the workshop, tweak them as needed, and train your team on them.
But as time goes on, AI coaches, especially in higher leagues, began to learn your tactics, and they become effective.
This is a major change that I noticed from ‘16 to ‘17. In FM 16, I had a solid 4-3-3, set on the top of the Premier League for years, no problems at all, but due to changes, this doesn’t work as well as it has in the past.
If you make it in the game for more than a couple of seasons, you will probably hit a point where things just seem to breakdown. As noted above, consider mixing it up for awhile (even a few months/season), and then going back to your preferred ways if you insist.
Teams tactics familiarity varies by team/age/turnover etc.
While it has gotten a lot better for the past couple of years, a frustrating aspect, especially when taking over a team, is that you will spend a lot of time waiting and training players on tactics. It could be 3 – 9 months. They could never fully kick in at over a 70-80% familiarity.
Training on tactics is important. I have had awesome teams who don’t achieve their potential due to poor tactic familiarity, typically they are filled with younger players, and I have had okay teams achieve a lot due to tactic familiarity.
But... I have had good teams with 90 – 100% tactic familiarity struggle too, so there’s that.
Also, as noted, don’t be afraid to tweak your tactics, as teams with good tactic familiarity can go through some adjusting without suffering too much.
The advice your staff gives you is only as good as your staff is
Many people don’t seem to realize this however your staff is not perfect and not everything they suggest. Remember that staff attributes, just like player attributes, are on scale from 1 – 20, and just like players, are not perfect.
Staff, especially assistant coaches, are predictable. Much like every problem to a hammer looks like a nail, every best formation for a coach that prefers 4-4-2 is…. 4-4-2, so take that with a grain of salt, and do what you feel is best.
Not to say they don’t give good advice, but look at what they give you, take it into consideration (maybe contain in my cup match against Man City in my Leyton Orient save is a good idea… hmmm), and go from there.
If things are falling apart, maybe take the assistant coach’s suggestions for a few matches and see how it works. I have hit this a few times, and while it doesn’t turn it around and win the league, admitting that I have no clue how to manage this [email protected]#$% team and taking the assistant coaches advise has stopped the bleeding from time to time.
The number 4 point is especially true with scouting staff. If you don’t have the best scouting staff, you are not going to get the best scouting advice. I discovered this years ago when that 5 star 33 year old striker I signed didn’t pan out the way that I had hoped.
You can only do the best you can do with the resources you have of course, so try to hire the best staff you can find. Make sure to use the comparison chart under the staff tab to see how your staff compare to others in your league. I have found that It’s not had to get in the top 2 – 3 rankings for most of your staff in the the competition.
Injuries are common, get use to them
Unless you are going to get the in-game editor and use the hand of god to miraculously heal your players, they will get injured. Typically the better the player, the more likely that they will have long term injuries. Anybody who follows football knows this is a reality.
I feel for them, but I can’t help but laugh when people get p**ed off about injuries in the game. Happens all the time. I remember getting my star Colombian kid striker for my newly promoted to the Bundesliga Karlsrhue save last year, only to have him break his leg 3 minutes into his first match. The season was shot and I managed to fight against regulation.
He did awesome the following year and I couldn’t keep him from going… but the point is injuries are common, and that is why it’s important do the best you can to balance your team.
You will struggle to hold on on to your best players, get use to it
Unless you are going to get the in-game editor and use the hand of god to miraculously resolve their mental problems, your best players will eventually want new challenges. Anybody who follows football knows this is a reality.
Often times, you can ride out the transfer windows and they will get a little better, however sometimes it’s best to realize it, and let them go as they typically will only do a mediocre job on the field (if you are lucky) while they are not happy for long amounts of time, and practically become useless going forward.
Most players will want to hit their full potential and that means playing in better leagues/competitions than where you are, or can reasonably get to. This is why it’s important that you have some core players at the club who may not be stars, but do a reasonable job for the club so your not in constant discontent.
Good players will hit dips in form, and new (especially young players) may struggle their first season
Don’t be surprised when your key defender makes a mistake every game for 2+ games in a row and cost you games. Don’t be alarm when your star striker suddenly forgets where the goal is. Bad form happens.
I had had star new players struggle all season (really bad when it’s your new goalie), but the next season, they are the awesome player I signed years prior. It seems to be about a 50/50 probability.
It’s a challenge the need to give struggling players the game time needed to improve their form, while not tanking the team’s ambition. Try to have friendlies during international breaks (providing a majority of your team isn’t away from the clubs), and give them a chance with easier teams. There is no cookie cutter way to fix these problems.
Try to not go crazy with squad size
Especially when you first take over a club, and if you have some cash, it’s real easy to pick up a bunch of players on free transfer’s or cheaply that your scouts think will be good for the team (see #4).
However try to make sure you don’t have lots of players on a team that you don’t use. While older players may be happy being back up options who only play once a year, most younger players will began to complain about not getting a chance in the first team.
They won’t develop properly, as well as it causes issues with overall training as more players means more players to learn tactics, etc.
Be careful when cleaning house, getting rid of core players, changing captains, etc.
As we see too often, football is a team sport. You will want to come in and build your team, but be careful when you are going through a lot of turnover.
Some squads need a good cleaning, while other squads need a little tweaking. Be careful about selling players that fans like, and be extremely careful about changing captains, even when you staff (see #3) suggest you do so.
It might be best to wait for contracts to run out rather than selling unwanted players. You might have opportunities for a better player in that position, but if the player your replacing is an okay performing core member of the squad, you might want to wait until a different opportunity.
Be realistic, try to have realistic expectations
While FM has it’s fair share of problems and frustrations, it does try to be realistic, and you have to keep that in mind. It’s not a game of active skill like about everything else you might play
Don’t be upset when you can’t win every game. Don’t be alarmed when you tie a game you should have one, or loose it entirely.
If you want to dominate, play as a dominating team in an unbalanced league (Celtic, PSG anyone?).
I have won some leagues, while fighting regulation in others in the same save, in the same year, etc. Every competition, team, and season is different.