Formulating a Vision for your Manager

The club I support in real life, also the club that I always start my first save within a new iteration of FM, is Roda JC Kerkrade. Hardly known outside of the Netherlands, but I have been following them since I was 6.

The club currently is not in a good spot. The battle against relegation from the Eredivisie (Dutch highest tier) has been fought every year since the 2012-2013 season. With the notable exception of 2013-2014, that year they ended 18th. That place meant direct relegation. With no little amount of luck, they managed to promote in the subsequent season via play-offs.

Since 2012-2013 the club went through an average of one manager per year, saw a shady investor pop up who is now in jail, brought in shitloads of unknown players from everywhere, hardly any adding to the squad and seems to find no way out of money trouble. In short, the club lacks vision.

A bit long for an introduction, so to the point. Today I want to talk about vision. About creating a vision for the clubs you manage. For me, that is one of the most important things to submerge myself into the wondrous world of Football Manager really.

Continue reading

Opposition Instructions, Pressing Triggers And Pressing Traps

Inspired by the successes of men like Guardiola, Bielsa and Klopp an ever-increasing legion of managers is looking to change their tactical approach to the beautiful game. One of the elements they always look at is pressing (or counterpressing). This means they will inevitably look at pressing traps and pressing triggers as well. Previously, such tactical musings were the domain of pretentious hipsters trying to be interesting by brandishing such terms or the odd tactical aficionado.

Pressing, counterpressing, pressing traps and pressing triggers are very popular concepts that are associated with the most exciting and dominant teams in modern football. But what do these terms really mean, why are they so important to modern football and how can you use these concepts in Football Manager? I’ve covered counterpressing extensively before, so in this article, I’ll focus on pressing traps and pressing triggers.

Continue reading

Players Ready to Become Top ‘Trequartistas’ for Your Strikerless Formation

When Spain won the European Championship in 2012, they had to do it without star striker David Villa – who was injured – and despite still having Fernando Torres, Alvaro Negredo, and Fernando Llorente, they went into the final without a recognised striker. In the final, a group stage game, and the quarter-finals, Spain opted to play without a striker and instead have Cesc Fabregas up top, presumably to aid in their over-the-top possession game.

Particularly in the final, Spain were hailed for the successful use of their ‘false nine’ formation, but Fabregas’ play didn’t mimic that of a man atop this setup. Instead of dropping deeper, the then Barcelona midfielder played very high up, darting around the Italian defence.

Fabregas effectively transformed himself from a central midfielder into more of a striker, very similar to that of the Football Manager role of the trequartista.

Cesc Fabregas at Euro 2012 match Spain-France‘ – Дмитрий Неймырок (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The trequartista is a favourite for use in a strikerless formation, as the player is allowed to exploit the pockets created, often bringing about goals. The role is quite gung-ho, involves very little defensive responsibility, and thus keeps the player ready to attack.

Continue reading

The Art of the Defensive Midfielder in a Strikerless Formation

For a long time in the world of football, defensive midfielders didn’t receive the credit they deserved. It wasn’t until N’Golo Kante burst onto the scene two seasons ago that the hype returned for these defence-minded midfield maestros.

Everyone now knows Leicester City’s story: rising from relegation candidates to suddenly winning the richest and toughest domestic competition in the world, the Premier League – a story that could’ve been taken right out of a Football Manager save. Among the stars highlighting the greatest of underdog stories, N’Golo Kante’s elite-level play in defensive midfield allowed the Leicester back line to sit deep, where the lack of speed from Wes Morgan and Robert Huth was less exposed.

Watford 1 Chelsea 2 20.8. 16‘ by Chelsea Debs (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The diminutive Frenchman’s play earned him a mega, multi-million move to Chelsea last summer, and in Sportsbet’s most popular football category of news and betting tips, it was predicted that Chelsea would clinch the title against West Bromwich Albion, which they did. He played a pivotal role in Antonio Conte’s three-at-the-back formation, acting once again as the stone wall first line of defence.

Continue reading

How Do Our Youth Facilities Impact The Development Of Young Players?

In the La Masia series I wrote last year, the importance of upgrading your youth facilities was discussed. While we all realise the importance of a quality coaching staff in speeding up the development of our players and there have been previous experiments regarding the effects of tutoring, no-one has looked into the facilities.

I am curious as to the effectiveness of these facilities. Upgrading them is often an expensive and time-consuming affair, so is upgrading them worth the hassle or would you be better off focussing your time, energy and financial resources on other areas?

Continue reading

Taking Hipster Football From Six To Midnight

July 2030.  Swedish-born, Manchester United supporter Hakan Telleus has just won the World Cup with his native Sweden, to follow on his 2026 triumph with the Dutch, and Champions League-winning campaigns at Malmö FF, Fiorentina and Borussia Mönchengladbach. 

At the height of his career, no doubt, with club directors offering the dashing Swede a generous pay package and their most comely daughters in hopes of enticing him to sign on the dotted line.

Suffice to say; jaws hit the floor when Telleus announced that he would not be setting up shop in Manchester, Madrid, Paris or Munich, as many expected.

No, much to the delight of bookies everywhere, he was off to Yorkshire.  To newly-promoted Leeds United.  Worst of all, he had vowed to discard the Sacchi-inspired tactics that he had relied on thus far.  Instead, he promised the angst-filled Yorkshire masses to play hipster football – hipster football of a calibre to cure erectile dysfunction throughout northern England and beyond.

From the depths of Telleus’ madness, glory would spring. Champions League titles at Leeds, Saint-Étienne, Stade de Reims and Eintracht Frankfurt.  European Championship and World Cup glory with Greece in 2044 and 2046.

The method to his madness?  Obscene quantities of grapefruit, an unhealthy dose of self-confidence, and a suite of tactics featuring a libero, two inverted wingbacks, and not a single striker.

Continue reading

Mentoring; The Effects On Development

Tutoring your players to help their development is starting to become common practice in FM. After all, it works in real life as well and with FM17 being a pretty accurate simulation, it will work in the game. Think Ibrahimovic helping out Rashford, Henry and Bergkamp trying to tutor Anelka, Rijkaard helping out the entire Ajax ’95 team. The question remains; how effective exactly is this tutoring? That’s what this article is trying to find out.

Continue reading