The Seasons Goals

Following on from Guido’s piece on the transfer structure and signings he made during the close season, the pressure was on me to now utilise the squad he has provided me with and deliver some results. But what would success look like regarding this second season both in terms of the eyes of the board and the supporters, and how would I manage my squad to deliver the goals set? Which competition(s) would / should we prioritise and why? 

Setting The Priorities

 If you remember our 5-year plan was to establish ourselves as a top 4 club which when considering our Season 1 performance I felt we had advanced quicker than dreamed for regarding performance and financial management. We had dealt well in the transfer market, invested in our club and youth facilities and started ground expansion due to the demand for tickets – still finishing the season with a positive bank balance. 

When considering what success would look like in Season 2, there were 3 main topics I felt needed the most consideration:

  • The Board

In this very fickle world of football management then it was important for me to remember that I was only as good as my last result. In the words of the Director of Football – Guido: “Ultimately, I think we did well enough bringing in new players. Mark should be able to kick ass with this team.”

So, if I didn’t want to suffer the same fate as Mr Ranieri did the season after his comparable against all odd’s Premier League title win of the 2015/16 season then I’d need to make sure I met their expectations.

With the squad I’ve got then I’m confident I can deliver these aspirations, but I’ll need to manage the squad carefully through the season to ensure I’ve got my best players fit and ready for each big game. My squad players need to be sufficiently match-fit and motivated enough to step in when I need them. I’ll do a section below on the squad views I use and how I rotated my players.

  • Financial Gain

To keep investing in the club then I also needed to consider which of the competitions would yield the biggest financial rewards in terms of television advertising, performance bonuses and matchday revenues. To do well in our inaugural Champions League campaign would obviously bring in higher revenues but if success was to mean a non-top 4 finish in the league then in the long run,  would it be a wise decision to prioritise it that highly?

  • Supporters & Worldwide Reputation

Our supporters had tasted great success in the last campaign & so expectations were high for us to compete on all fronts. After so many years of mediocrity then I didn’t want to slip backwards this season and disappoint them.

Our plan was to continue to grow our reputation and fan base, so we could attract the best coaches and players to the club. With the DOF having a clear transfer policy in place,then the quicker I could raise our profile the better and the best way to do this was to carry on performing well in the league and now the European competitions.

First Half of The Season Priorities

I decided that the Carabao cup was not important at all and with the FA cup starting in January for Premier League teams, I would be able to rotate my squad through the first half of the season well if I used my second string in the Carabao. Should I go out then there would be no problem. My Champions League knockout stage fixtures were more than manageable in amongst the Premier League fixtures. I ensured my strongest available squad were playing with tired or at injury risk players rested the game before to ensure optimum performance.

 Setting Up My Squad

In FM19 we now have much more detailed information available to us than ever before,and I will need to call on this information from my back-team reports to manage my squad’s happiness and fitness through the season. Only by doing this will I be able to compete on multiple fronts.

Squad and Tactic Views

I found a great squad view from the ‘WorkTheSpace’ team which covers off all the key information I use when monitoring my squad regarding happiness, playing time and their standing within the squad etc. Coupled with the tactics view which I use when selecting my matchday squad then I can watch their injury risk probability coupled with matchday fitness, as well as all their ability and potential stats along with actual match performance stats to choose the right players for each game.

Anyone with an ‘High’ or ‘Very High’ injury risk probability would be rested if possible unless it was due to lack of match fitness then they would either be played in the reserves and/or introduced gradually for 45 to 60 minutes until fit. I feel it’s important to always look ahead 2 to 3 games to see which fixtures are upcoming and plan out my squad accordingly based on player fitness /quality of opposition. Keeping everyone match fit and happy is an essential part of the success of the season. Keep an eye on a player’s hierarchy and social group as these dictates how you handle their playing time as well.

Squad View

Tactics View

 Injuries / Fitness Management

Aside from the major injury to first team choice Nathaniel Clyne then all the other major injuries were to rotation or back up players. One thing I learnt from this second season was to ensure back players are kept match fit through U23 or U18 games if I couldn’t get them in the 1st team squad for gametime. Guido has backed me up by ensuring I have 2 players offering cover for each first team starter – rotate these guys correctly with reserve games if you cannot give first team games. I would try and give any players with a high potential at least 15 / 20 starts per season if you want them to develop. Game time after 18 years old is essential so consider loaning them out if you want to integrate into your squad later or sell for more money as they develop. Don’t leave them rotting in your reserves.


Due to its complexity, I leave all training to my AM apart from the individual roles which I set accordingly to the position I want them to play. This is not always the role they play on the pitch but the attributes I want them to learn in the area of the pitch they play i.e I train all central defenders as Ball Playing defenders to train their first touch, vision and composure on top of what they’d learn as standard CD’s. I do look at a player’s traits at an early age to see if they suit how I want them to play and if the coaches agree then I’ll suggest traits accordingly. If not looking likely to be successfully trained then I will wait until the relevant stats improve and try again.

I will be covering training in a future post, so I’ll leave that for now.

That’s it for now, folks, in the next post, I’ll update you on the January signings made by Guido as well as our performance in the Premier League and other competitions to see if our plan worked and we were able to compete on multiple fronts.

Hope that’s been helpful.



Categories: Tactics


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