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5 simple tips to get better at Football Manager 2021

5 simple tips to get better at Football Manager 2021

Here's five simple tips that will give you a solid base and to get you better at Football Mangaer 2021. 


Football Manager 2021 is one of the most elaborate simulation games in history, containing thousands of features and state-of-the-art game technology.

With so much going on, it’s easy to get lost in all the details: which corner routine should you go for? Is your academy wonderkid ready for his debut? Do you really have enough centre-halves?

But rather than ponder over all these dilemmas, first it’s best to make sure you get the basics right. The following five tips will give you a solid base from which you can launch your managerial career and put you in the best frame of mind to make those complicated calls later.

Start off simple


Managing a football team is as complicated as you want it to be. With all the different bits and pieces you can tweak, your plan isn’t going to be down to chance, like a roulette strategy might be: your actions will always influence the outcome. However, there’s also danger in over-thinking things.

When you start off at a new club, just keep things simple to begin with, don’t jump in with elaborate tactics that will confuse the players. Keep their roles basic and don’t ask them to do anything too fancy. Then, use the friendlies to see where they do well and where they struggle. There you’ll see where you need to make your tweaks, such as inverting a winger to suit his style, or getting a pacey full-back to overlap.

Have back-up plans


It’s nice to go into games with a concrete plan, but you should never be too proud to have back-ups, just in case.

Fill the three tactic slots with different plans, even if one is just a slight variant on your original gameplan: this could be an option to throw men forward for that late equalizer or to keep the ball in the corner when protecting that slender lead.

That said, don’t be afraid to try something different, but something the players can adapt to. The best alternatives are those that suit player traits as well as the original plan: for example, wing-backs are adept at pushing forward in a formation with three at the back, but can also slot into a back five, if needed.

The important thing, though, is to keep your players well-versed in any set of tactics you have: the worst thing you can do is drop changes on them 24 hours before a game.

Tune into what your players like


Football can still be quite a macho sport, where the ‘tough guy’ persona is still favoured by many managers. However, some of the most successful coaches are those that are tuned into their players’ preferences and use sensitive man-management to bring the best out of them.

Study each player’s attributes carefully and act on them. If your star player is a winger who is terrible at defending, then don’t ask him to track back. If a defender is awful at long balls, then make sure he keeps his passing simple, ideally to the defensive midfielder in front of him.
 

Don’t ignore set-pieces


It’s a curious fact, but most of us completely ignore set-pieces and just let the players get on with it between themselves.

However, having routines in place really does make a difference, especially if you flick between three or four of them to keep the algorithm guessing. Yes, it can be tedious to drill it into your players, but the effort could be worth an extra few points a season – often the difference between survival and relegation...or winning the league and finishing second.

Stuck for a routine? Try this killer method


Maybe you don’t have the patience to try out different set-piece routines, or whatever you’re doing just doesn’t seem to click. That’s OK, there’s one killer method that you can drop on your opponent every now and then.

The technique, which has been doing the rounds on FM forums for a while, involves a near-post corner routine, and goes as follows:

  1. Get your best corner-taker to aim corners for the near post
  2. Position your best target men there, ideally a 6ft-plus striker with decent heading and jumping skills
  3. Place spare strikers at the back post to attract tall defenders
  4. Put a small winger as the short option, in the hope that he draws a defender out of the box before the kick
  5. Tell a lurking attacker with good long shots to stand on the edge of the box
  6. Put two players on the halfway line to intercept counter-attacks – but make sure neither of these are on your list of corner-takers as you might be left short if they need to step up to take one in case of injuries or subs.

Be careful not to stick with this for too long, because opponents will get wise. Dropping it a few times a season, though, is bound to land you a few goals.

One of the great Bill Shankly’s many excellent quotes was ‘football is a simple game, complicated by idiots’. While Football Manager may make it seem otherwise with its thousands of nuances and variations, the best managers are those who can stay true to some basic principles with a clear head.

Avoiding complications is the best thing you can do with a new team and will help you put down those first building blocks towards success.

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FM BLOG: 5 simple tips to get better at Football Manager 2021
5 simple tips to get better at Football Manager 2021
Here's five simple tips that will give you a solid base and to get you better at Football Mangaer 2021.
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