A quick change of tactics then, forcing my players to look for wide options, and a loan of a centre back who can actually play football and my fortunes changed. I didn’t start winning every game 10-0 but all of a sudden but I managed to grab a 1-1 draw in the League Cup with local rivals Queens Park Rangers. I assessed the situation, came up with an idea for changing things and I saw a noticeable difference in my team.
It is the feeling of complete control in Football Manager that really allows you to enjoy your triumphs. When you win against the odds you know it is down to your own managerial brilliance. The element of control is not located solely in your decision over the formation. Training your players and hiring the best coaches to do it also has a noticeable affect. You can even set up your own training schedules that will actually help shape the way your team plays. Fancy yourself as a bit of a Sam Allardyce? Then allocate more training time to set-pieces – providing you don’t have a team of pygmies you’ll be scoring from corners and free-kicks in no time.
What I have described so far is essentially the Football Manager experience many of you will know and love from previous versions of the game. The new features, despite being fairly small and subtle, do make for a more enjoyable, immersive and realistic experience. In the previous game the ability to wind up rival managers was added, by taunting a manager and telling him his team was a load of cack – you’d find his playing style might have changed, he’d become more aggressive allowing you to maybe capitalise on the counter-attack in your next game.
This level of interaction has now been extended to players. Got your eye on a star forward at a rival club? Let him know how highly you think of him by releasing a statement to the press. This might unsettle him, leading the player to hand in a transfer request. Be warned however, this ability to interact is a double edged sword. Telling the press how highly you think of a rival striker may unsettle your own players, who might start to worry that they may soon lose their place in the team.
Football Manager constantly hammers you with opportunities to make decisions. This is reflected through the increased email traffic you will see in this game. Even if your managing Halifax in the Conference you’ll be plagued by emails every day informing you of injuries, man of the match performances, scouting reports, reserve team results, transfer news, rival club goings on, monthly awards… the list goes on and on, and at times it can get a little overwhelming having to sift through the news that is actually relevant to you. Methodical players, who enjoy taking their time over every decision, will welcome the extra information but for players who are less tenacious managers all this extra news will probably end up being ignored.