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Football manager 2011. Hints, tips, strategies, formations, tactics, training schedules and staff recruitment (PC/MAC)


Football Manager 2011 is here and as usual it's addictive as hell. Over the years i've lost many, many hours to the game, and pulled more than a few all nighters trying to manage my team to glory. The new edition has just had a few slight tweaks but in fairness, at this minute in time that's all it needs. The new and improved contract negotiations give you a real sense of how frustrating football management must be at times. I reluctantly admit that i have been close to calling certain player's agents a few four letter words until remembering i was sat at home playing a game on the laptop and i wasn't actually a football manager. Sad but true i'm afraid.

Anyway on with the hub. While playing this years edition and my experiences from previous ones i have picked up a few things that work for me along the way. Here are a few hints and tips in no particular order.

  • First of all you have to decide what type of manager you are. Are you the cautious, reserved type who considers a draw as a point gained? or the all out attack, Kevin Keegan style who won't accept anything other than a win? Personally i'd place myself right in the middle. If i'm managing Stoke and i have an away game at Man Utd or Chelsea then i tend to pack the midfield and try to hit them on the break leaving 1 striker supported by 2 pacy wingers and occasionally a central midfielder pushing on. I also never trust anything other than a flat back 4, but maybe i'm just a little old fashioned in my thinking on that one. However if i'm playing as a lower league manager (which i often prefer to do) then it's all out attack and to hell with the consequences with maybe a 424, 433 or a very attacking 442.

  • I never try to use more than 2 formations in a season as it brings stability to your team. The players know what their jobs are and get better at doing, depending on their ability of course. If you haven't got the players to suit a specific formation then don't force the issue. Look at the players you have and decide what set up would suit them best, it's pointless trying to put square pegs in round holes.

  • If you are planning on setting your team up with a fast tempo then it's recommended that you also go with a more direct style of passing as the two go hand in hand, as does a slow tempo with short passing. I only tend to use a direct style of passing in the lower leagues or when i'm trailing in a match and want to get the ball in the danger area's quicker.

  • When considering instructions to individual players then don't just trust the default settings. I always have a clear picture of what i want each player to be doing in every given match. Also, make sure you play to a players strengths. If he has a good long shot then use it, set his instructions to try long shots frequently. The same applies with players who great passing ability and dribbling. Get them trying through balls or running at players more often depending on their particular talent. It might sound like i'm stating the obvious but it could be the difference between picking up 3 points or 1 point.

  • If your opposition are getting more long shots in than you would like (especially if they have someone good at them) then push your defensive line up a little to try to prevent them. But be careful, if they have fast strikers then this could make it easier for them to get behind you and get in on goal so you have to try and strike the perfect balance. I use an anchorman to sit in front of the defence for most games, especially if the opposition have a floating midfielder like a Van Der Vaart or a Modric who seem to pop anywhere and also seems to decrease theamount of long shots against me.

  • Corners are extremely important in my opinion so I have a specific routine for them. I set my corner kick taker to hit the ball to the far post, i then have 2 players on the front post, 1 challenging the keeper, 1 attacking from deep, and the player with the best aerial threat at the far post where the ball hopefully be heading towards. I also leave a player lurking outside the penalty area who has good shooting and 2 pacy players staying back. Also i try to make sure my corner taker has a corner attribute of 15 or over. Also when considering my man at the far post i look at 3 things, obviously his jumping and heading (preferably both over 15) and then his height. I tend to score quite a few goals from corners using this routine so maybe you will too.
  • When defending a lead into the last few minutes i always try and calm the game down as much as possible. If i have fast wingers i always use them as my outlet and set the touchline instructions to clear the ball to flanks so that they can carry the ball further up the pitch and take pressure of the rest of the team. If my wide players aren't particurly fast then i tell the team to retain posession and pass the ball to feet in a bid to keep the ball from the opposition.
  • If when i analyse the team i'm playing against before and during the match i notice that they have a lack of pace in the line up then i tell my team to hit the ball into space to try and utilise my team's superior pace advantage.
  • Also if i notice that the opposition has a severe lack of technical ability then i'll set the instructions to hassle opponents to try and force them into errors.
  • The first thing i do before signing players is have a good sort out of my backroom staff. Get rid of any deadwood and have a good sift through available coaches, physio's and scouts to take their place. Here are attributes i look out for when picking my backroom staff:

ASSISTANT MANAGER - Adaptability, Determination, Motivation

COACH - Attacking, Defence, Tactical

YOUTH COACH - Attacking, defence, tactical, Working with youngsters

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GOALKEEPER COACH - Coaching goalkeepers, Man management, Tactical

SCOUT - Judging player ability, Judging player potential

PHYSIO - Physiotherapy, Level of discipline, Determination

  • The next thing i take care of is training schedules. I never use the default ones. I separate the schedules into the following categories and concentrate and put more emphasis on certain parts of the training as shown in brackets at the side:

GOALKEEPERS - Priorities (shot stopping, handling, tactics)

FULL BACKS - Priorities (Aerobic, Defending, tactics)

CENTRE BACKS - Priorities (Defending, Tactics, Strength)

WIDE MIDFIELDERS - Priorities (Aerobic, Attacking, defending)

WINGERS - Priorities (Aerobic, Attacking, Ball control)

DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD - Priorities (Defending, Ball control, tactics)

ATTACKING MIDFIELD - Priorities (Attacking, Ball control, Shooting)

CENTRAL MIDFIELD - Priorities (Ball Control, Attacking, Defending)

TARGET MAN - Priorities (Strength, Attacking, Aerobic)

ADVANCED FORWARD/POACHER - Priorities (Aerobic, shooting, tactics)

Please take into consideration that these methods are my personal preferences. Some may work for you and others may not. I also understand that buying players is a massive part of Football manager as if you haven't got the personnel then the above tips are competely pointless anyway. That is why i'm working on a list of bargain players that i hope to create a hub with in the next week or so. I also hope to do a few more hubs on Football Manager 2011 so keep an eye out for those too.

I thank you for reading my hub and hope that you picked up some useful tips. If you have any methods that have served you well that you would like to share then feel free to leave your comments below.


Fuller_legend (author) from Stoke-On-Trent, England on February 03, 2011:

Football manager fan: Glad you enjoyed it mate, thanks for reading.

Football Manager Fan on February 03, 2011:

Good hub! I like your training priorities for each position

Fuller_legend (author) from Stoke-On-Trent, England on January 16, 2011:

Ash Wilkes: Glad you enjoyed the hub mate. Can take over your life can't it.

mou_mou: Glad it worked for you buddy. I tend to score quite a few with the same routine.

mou_mou on January 15, 2011:

the corner setup is very useful. Thanks!

Ash Wilkes from Wolverhampton on January 15, 2011:

Really helpful hub. Can't put the game down at the moment.

Fuller_legend (author) from Stoke-On-Trent, England on January 09, 2011:

Liam101: Very addictive game isn't it? Glad you enjoyed the hub mate.

Liam101 on January 09, 2011:

Another great hub Fuller. I just purchased this game and am struggling to leave it alone. Helpful hub

Fuller_legend (author) from Stoke-On-Trent, England on January 01, 2011:

Beli23: Nice one mate, that sounds spot on. I'll definitely be giving that a go. Thanks for reading

Beli23 on December 31, 2010:

Football manager 2011 staff ratings calculator

Find out the exact number of stars a coach has in any given training category, pretty usefull.

Fuller_legend (author) from Stoke-On-Trent, England on December 17, 2010:

Warchild: I personally don't bother with Football management games on consoles as i'm normally disappointed. I haven't played cm2010 to be honest but i can tell you Football Manager on pc is outstanding. Cheers for reading matey.

lee from Lancing, West Sussex, England on December 17, 2010:

Nice hub,what's the game like,ive always had championship manager and CM2010 is pretty good,ive played football manager on the xbox and it was ok not brill.

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