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FM Tactics Guide: How to Play Entertaining Football & Keep the Board Happy

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Discover tactics to play entertaining football in FM, win matches, and keep the board happy. Master strategies for a thrilling gameplay experience.
Football Manager Guide How to play Entertaining Football and Please the Board and Fans

Learn to play entertaining football in Football Manager and satisfy the board with our tactics guide.


How many times have you found yourself looking at your club vision, wondering how on earth you’re going to fulfil them? Or even worse, you’re halfway into a season, scoring for fun, but still, the board aren’t happy with the football being played?

For the last few FMs, I’ve been absolutely stumped by “play entertaining football”. My team scored goals and won trophies, and the highlights were entertaining to me, but still, I couldn’t satisfy the board. If this sounds familiar to you, this guide will point you in the right direction to keep the board happy and get the fans into your stadium.

1. Dribble Less


FM Dribble Less

Entertaining football is about keeping the ball moving. Think about Guardiola’s Barca, Wenger’s Arsenal, the late-00s Spain, all teams who passed teams to death. The best team instruction to encourage this in Football Manager is dribble less. If your players aren’t allowed to dribble so much, they’ll be forced into passing and moving. This makes the ball do the work, keeping your opposition guessing and drawing defenders out of position, opening up spaces for your more creative players to exploit.

2. Shorter Passing


FM Short Passing

You’re encouraging your players to pass the ball more often, next you need to tell them how you want them to pass. If you’re trying to encourage entertaining football, you don’t want your players lumping constant long balls forward. A target forward is a very handy and under-used player role when used correctly, but sadly the boardrooms of Football Manager don’t think it equates to entertaining football. Short, frequent passing is absolutely crucial to entertainment and satisfying your board requirements.

3. Breaking the Lines


The easiest players to mark are those who are static. If your players aren’t moving positions throughout the match, the opposition will find it very easy to mark your players out of the game and prevent them from passing the ball among themselves. You need player roles such as inverted wing-back, mezzala, inverted winger, and false 9 to get your players moving away from their traditional positions and into different areas of the pitch. This makes them harder to mark and easier to find with intelligent passing.

4. Work Ball Into Box


FM Work The Ball into space

This one just makes sense when paired with the other two. You’re telling your players to pass the ball more and to keep their passes short, so you’re really limiting their options for long-range passes into the danger areas. Work Ball Into Box can look very different depending on your tempo, but it always results in players working to create the best opportunities rather than resorting to long shots. Not only does this mean the players keep the ball moving while looking for an entry pass, but it creates high xG opportunities in the box, making your strikers’ jobs easier and scoring plenty of goals to get your fans off their seats.

5. Width


This can be tricky, and is one of those where there’s no clear answer. Asking your players to have more width can create a lot of space, giving your team open space to move into. This helps your players find space and get into positions to receive the ball away from defenders. It’s also incredibly hard to defend, as the defence has to cover a lot of the pitch. However, narrow shape can work as well, as you keep all your passing areas nearby. This means there’s always an option and your players can keep the ball moving with greater ease. In this case, I’d recommend trying one or the other, and seeing how that works for your own players. Generally, players with greater anticipation and decisions do well in tighter spaces; while players with better teamwork and technique will do well with plenty of space.

6. Low Crossing


FM low Cross

Finally, just to compliment and really tie everything together, keep your crosses on the ground. With the other instructions, you’re really defeating the point of having a target forward, looking to win aerial battles against defenders, and to aim whipped crosses at. Low crossing improves the effectiveness of a quicker striker with good movement. With working the ball into the box, this makes low crossing incredibly effective and increases the likeliness of cut-backs and square passes across goal for easy opportunities for your striker.

Conclusion: Entertain Your Way to the Top


Following these tips won't guarantee you instant success, but they'll put you on the path to playing a brand of football that excites the fans, keeps the board on your side, and most importantly, is enjoyable for you to manage. Remember, football is about more than just winning; it's about the beautiful game.

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FM Blog | FM24: FM Tactics Guide: How to Play Entertaining Football & Keep the Board Happy
FM Tactics Guide: How to Play Entertaining Football & Keep the Board Happy
Discover tactics to play entertaining football in FM, win matches, and keep the board happy. Master strategies for a thrilling gameplay experience.
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