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JC'S DETAILED GUIDE To Success In Soccermanager

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JC's Detailed Guide To Success in Soccermanager

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*NEW: Just wanted to say not managed a team for a long time on SM now so I suspect several parts that I have mentioned below are now less relevant, out of date or even completely wrong, for example I believe unmanaged teams can now use any of 20+ formations so using 3-5-2 to beat the previously default 4-4-2 isn't going to work as well . . .

Introduction

This is my first post in the help section, so please bear with it, and feel free to give advice. I hope it is appreciated. It is very long, so feel free to skip sections, I have tried to highlight key words and sections. :)

What I am hoping to do here is to put down here is most of what I have experienced* about SM over the past 4 years and hopefully help everyone from newcomers to experienced managers and clear-up some misconceptions

Disclaimer

All the advice will have varying success dependent on your league and your decisions and I cannot guarantee it is all accurate, as I lot of what I say is what I have generally observed and I do not have the evidence to back up a lot of the advice.

I will divide the guide into two parts. The only way to improve your teams results is through Tactics or Player Transfers.

You will need both, throughout soccer manager you will often see teams of average ratings 80, beat 90s. The match engine relies a lot on tactics, however it is clearly important for the long term to build a strong team.

Tactics

Use In-Game Instructions

If your team is losing at 60 minutes it is rare on soccer manager that this result will be different at 90 minutes. For this reason you should at least make some changes to attempt to make difference. Equally if you are winning at 60 minutes don't make changes, as your formation is working well already.

Possession Is The Key Statistic

As evidence of this I have just looked at EC106 Div 2, a division with relatively equal sides but some differences, all very active managers who are playing every formation under the sun.

Out of the 20 games, looking at the teams with greater possession

16 won,

2 drew

2 lost.

Look at your own games and you will often find maybe 80% of games are won on possession. ( I have noticed it can often be inaccurate however if one team changes their formation significantly at some point midway through the game)

I have to emphasise though I have never found a way to improve possession, trying formations like 3-6-1 with slow tempo and men behind ball, which you would have thought might improve your possession statistics, will have the same chances of success as any other formation

Number Of Shots Is Less Important

I hear many managers complain about the number of shots they had and still lost. The number of shots is clearly relevant but less so out of 20 games looking at the teams with the greater number of shots,

10 won

5 lost

4 drew,

Possession is the best statistic to look at.

Do Not Judge Players On Past Success

Many a manager like to judge players on there recent number of goals or favouritism.

I would argue selection should be based purely on

-rating

-position

-morale

-fitness.

I believe The SM match engine can only recognise these 4 facts, and it will NOT KNOW that Dzeko is your favourite player and scored loads for your team last season, or that his rating will go up shortly (EDIT: this was when dzeko was rated 89!), so play Yakubu ahead of him!

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Edin Dzeko

Top Teams Play 3-4-1-2 or 3-5-2

I have looked at a lot of the top teams in the top 100 managers page, mostly those teams with a high average points per game average, some in the region of 2.5 average points over 6+ seasons. I logged into the game worlds for a brief period with a very low club to check their tactics and league form. Now it goes without saying they generally have monster squads, however time and again they use a formation variation on 3-5-2 or 3-4-1-2, this isn't just a few teams, about 60% of the teams I looked at did, maybe 30 teams.

My theory behind this is if you have a top team playing 3-5-2, it requires very good players to work, but it may well be consistent if this is the case, hence why I found it so often in the top teams.

Also 3-5-2 generally beats the default 4-4-2 formation, again helping these teams. If you play 3-5-2 with a comparatively weaker team it often does not work.

I have to state this is NOT a super formation that will necessarily work for you, and if you play it I would expect it too work only in a limited number of circumstances, (as explained above, and also commented on further below)

3-4-1-2, Attacking & Hard Tackling

Again these three factors were recurring themes, (although not as common) in the top teams.

3-4-1-2 is more popular than 3-5-2, and generally with the team mentality set to attacking.

With hard tackling, this possibly featured more as the squads were large enough to cope with any suspensions and I have never noticed a long term increase in red cards (this is very debatable though). However it will likely result in more injuries.

All Formations Can Be Equally Effective

I see many threads saying this formation will do well in a certain league or you should player wingers as they will be effective, but I feel it depends greatly on your league and players and I see very few with evidence behind these claims. I'm of the opinion that every formation is equal and that each will have a certain number of tactics it is strong against and an equal number it is weak against, (given the players are equal in rating and morale).

Specific formations however can be stronger in a certain league,

  • if some formations are more common
  • your team is lower rated
  • your team is higher rated
  • or it regularly beats default 4-4-2

I cannot be certain of this though, so again take the advice with a pinch of salt. I would like to create a record of which tactics beat which, but there is so many variables it would be nigh on impossible, with billions of combinations.

NEW* Secondary Positions Are Just As Effective

If a player is a LB/RB for example then he will play equally effectively at either position. He will not play worse than a regular RB at RB. This is an age old question which causes much confusion but Im hoping this will help.

http://forum.soccermanager.com/showthread.php?t=20772

The Dev's don't often answer questions (and they have ignored this particular question in the past) or say very much at all about the match engine, I think partially because they feel they may ruin the game and you should experiment yourself, but Ste has let something slip. This quote is taken from SM Dev Ste, under the improvements section about the introduction of preferred foot (the link above):

"The players position is still the KEY thing to look at, if a player is LB/RB that means he will play equally good at either position despite his foot. A CM can play CM whatever foot he is etc.

It will only effect players who are played out of position. For example if you have a CM who is left footed and you play him right wing he may well play worse than if you played him left wing."

The key line being "if a player is a LB/RB that means he will play equally good at either position"

More detail on this can be found here:

http://forum.soccermanager.com/showthread.php?t=53703

Also now with the player position suggested position feature (you get a green square if he can play there effectively) this point looks to have been proved.

The Match Engine Is Simplistic

I'm of the opinion that you cannot take the match commentary very seriously or the match engine for that matter.

The commentary appears to be almost randomly generated. You will notice you will never see a penalty given, despite being asked to pick a penalty taker? The quotes from the commentary are regularly repeated, even sometimes in the same order, and also many a time in the match commentary you will read about 4 shots on target and then the match statistics will say there was only 2 shots on target.

Players Out Of Position

If a player is played out of position I believe the match engine will treat him as a lower rated player. So if you play a CB at RB he will maybe drop 2 in rating. Play a CF in CM and he might drop 5 in rating.

So it can be advantageous sometime to play players out of position if your only other option is a player 10 less in rating. (This is just a theory, however I think it is likely this is how it will work)

Player Fitness

Do not play players low on fitness, especially NMF. They are more likely to get injured, player with lower performance and will still be tired the next week so you may as well rest them now. I try not to play players below 80-90% (at worst).

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Exhausted

Play Targetman/Playmaker if Comparatively High Rated

I would advise using these two options when you have a player who is especially high rated for your league. These options will then emphasise his greater ability, give him more time on the ball and provide greater influence on the match.

Raise Moral

If a player is particularly low on moral I would advise giving him a new long contract. Moral will affect there performances and the new contract can often raise there moral by a significant amount.

Substitutions

If you have enough players I would recommend using substitutions. Even if they are lower rated replacements they will normally get high ratings on the match report and improve the team. It does however mean you will have more players lower on fitness

Player Transfers

Buy Risers

As I'm sure you are aware one of the most important parts of this game is risers. I cannot emphasise this enough. It is often the only way to make money for small clubs, and you can make a lot of money especially in uncompetitive leagues up to 100 million+ a season (if you put in a lot of effort!). It is increasingly important with the latest improvements with cash injections (at the end of the season) now seemingly rarer and the “realistic attendances” generally reducing incomes.

Buy Every Rising 10k Player

I would recommend you buy every 10k player who might rise.

10k players have the largest percentage increase in value.

Often for example 2900% for a moderate rise in value to 300k. Compared with rises in the 84 range where you might get a 100% increase in value. This means if you had 100k to spend and bought 100, 10k players you might get back 25mill! Although it would be important to consider wages. Wages normally are 3k/turn and players are transfer banned for 20turns so a 10k player in reality costs 70k+, so any rise would have to be more than this and this is also why it is perhaps not a good idea to stock up on these kind of players in estonia etc (which I learnt to my mistake) as they haven't reviewed them for 3 years . . .(SM has only been around for about 6 years total, they may as well not bother with these leagues if they are not going to review them)

Constantly Invest

As soon as players have risen and are of transfer ban try to reinvest your gains.

Try to swap them (or swap two players), for a new riser (unless they themselves are going to rise again).

Transfer listing them often means you lose value compared with what you get in a player exchange.

Also I wouldn't worry if your losing money because wages are too high. Take it player by player if his rise will cover his wages then buy him. You will gain at the end of it, but you will need too sell the odd player to remain out of debt.

Loads of risers can be found on threads on the forum or use websites to see who is starting in matches.

Buy Players At Big Clubs

Try to buy players at the "big" clubs, ie the likes of Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, Barcelona and possibly some others like Sevilla. This is because they are almost guaranteed a 90+ rating for many many years, they don't necessarily have to be performing well, if they are low rated they can often rise rapidly and you will see the large majority of high rated players come from these teams. It can be tempting to buy players at smaller clubs who are talented and performing well (compared to for example a shaky but starting right back for Bayern) but it is much much harder for these players to gain 90+ ratings and they often will only rise to this level after years of amazing (and it is rare that they can maintain this) performances or until they move to a big club. So I would advise taking gambles on players that might break into the big teams. For example Thiago Motta, is an under-appreciated transfer, I feel he will will get a 92+ for a long time (EDIT: somewhat predictably he is now injured!).

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My Team: Preston North End (not a "big club"!),

Talents

I often feel many mangers/forumers concentrate on talents too much with very few of them ever making it. In uncompetitive leagues especially, I would advise leaving them and buy them later, when they actually look likely to rise or breakthrough regularly to a big team. For example I believe in 2006 Theo Walcott was rated maybe something in the region of 84 (correct me if I'm wrong) and now 8 SM seasons later he is 89 a surprisingly poor return.

Save Money On Contracts

This has already been said on previous threads, but try to sign long term risers on 5 year contracts, and if a player drops in rating get him to resign. This is because a player wages is determined by the rating at the current time. Wages jump up in levels at every 5 player rating ie at 80, 85, 90 ,95.

Secure Loans

If you are lower league team make an effort at the start of a season to try and secure some impressive loan signings. They can easily improve your team for free! Be a bit cheeky and send a few messages too the top teams enquiring (politely) if they might loan anyone, and you can often get players considerably better than those on the loan list.

I would also strongly suggest reading Hesse's excellent guide, which goes into a lot more detail on securing loans and negotiating deals with managers within the transfer market, and has a lot of good points;

http://forum.soccermanager.com/showthread.php?t=32238

There we go the end of the guide! :)

Hope it was helpful and feedback would be hugely appreciated.

*I have been a member since 2006, reputation of 356, 49th in the world with Stoke City in EC60 (though that has been going badly recently!) and manage in EC106, (arguably the most competitive and active setup there is) with Shorpe United.

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Re: JC'S DETAILED GUIDE To Success In Soccermanager

Amazing guide mate!!Will help newbies lots:)Must have taken you a long time too:)

Repped

Thanks very much sean, it did take us quite a bit to write :)

I am hopeful it will get stickied.

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Re: JC'S DETAILED GUIDE To Success In Soccermanager

Also' date=' about contracts, you might want to add in there to offer a player a new contract every time he drops. It actually saves you quite a bit of cash.[/quote']

Thanks MsF but I did actually already write that (very briefly!),

"and if a player drops in rating get him to resign."

I would warmly welcome further suggestions, similar to this, that could be added to the guide.

Wow. Just wow!

Well done mate' date=' great guide![/quote']

Nice work JC :)
Sticked. Awesome work here lad.

Thanks very much guys for the comments! It's great to know it's been enjoyed. :)

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Re: JC'S DETAILED GUIDE To Success In Soccermanager

It really is a good guide and although I already knew all those rules it was a pleasure to read it and maybe I'll surely recommend it to some of my friends who just started playing .

Great job JC ;)

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Re: JC'S DETAILED GUIDE To Success In Soccermanager

Well-written guide. Good work! :)

One thing, though - I beg to disagree about hard tackling not resulting in more red cards. My experience has been on the contrary, thanks to cards of two certain hues. More problematic (& frequent) than red cards & suspensions, however, are the injuries they cause - mostly long-term ones. :eek:

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Re: JC'S DETAILED GUIDE To Success In Soccermanager

Well-written guide. Good work! :)

One thing' date=' though - I beg to disagree about hard tackling not resulting in more red cards. My experience has been on the contrary, thanks to cards of two certain hues. More problematic (& frequent) than red cards & suspensions, however, are the injuries they cause - mostly long-term ones. :eek:[/quote']

Hard tackling is a point I'm less sure about, Ill look into it further,

I have possibly had different experiences to yourself (My players rarely seem to feature heavily in the yellow/red card lists).

Excellent point about the injuries though (that I forgot myself), I have also noticed it will likely result in a lot of injuries. (have now edited main post) ;)

Further thanks for the warm support :)

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Re: JC'S DETAILED GUIDE To Success In Soccermanager

Great post mate. tried to rep you, but I need to spread it around a bit more first, must have already repped you recently in EC106.

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Re: JC'S DETAILED GUIDE To Success In Soccermanager

Great post mate. tried to rep you' date=' but I need to spread it around a bit more first, must have already repped you recently in EC106.[/quote']

Third time someones told me they need to spread it in as many days!

Cheers very much. :)

That is a very good guide there JC' date=' and deservedly stickied. And it is not easy to get a thread stickied.[/quote']

Thanks for the praise Dermo.

I have to say I have huge respect for your Huddersfield which you manage in a similar style, (concentrating on risers and investing constantly) to myself and I repeatedly find my targets are bought months ago by Huddersfield (I put considerably less effort into scouting, it seems ;)). Keep up the blog!

Any further feedback on the guide from anyone would be helpful, thanks JC

.

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Re: JC'S DETAILED GUIDE To Success In Soccermanager

Out of the 3-4-1-2 and the 3-5-2 formations,I think The 3rd most used formation is the 4-5-1 which usually works well against sides using the 3-5-2. (It works against most of the formations and a 3-5-2 might not be able to beat a 4-5-1.But the hard thing about 4-5-1 is that a Home game using that formations is hard becuase,If you play defensivly and counter attack,it doens't work,But whats the point of playing 4-5-1 when you aren't defending In Real life ?? :D ) overall i am not trying to prove that the 4-5-1 is the best formation but i am just stateing that its a good formation to use under certain circumstances.

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Re: JC'S DETAILED GUIDE To Success In Soccermanager

Out of the 3-4-1-2 and the 3-5-2 formations' date='The 3rd most used formation is the 4-5-1 which usually works well against sides using the 3-5-2. (It works against most of the formations and a 3-5-2 might not be able to beat a 4-5-1.But the hard thing about 4-5-1 is that a Home game using that formations is hard becuase,If you play defensivly and counter attack,it doens't work,But whats the point of playing 4-5-1 when you aren't defending ?? :D I know it might e irrelevent but i just want to point out that the 4-5-1 is also a very good formation to use,But its very tough to use.Normally,you can keep cleansheet,like i did against your Colchester United whiched i woned 3:0.[/quote']

Hi inicikirock

1) I have to agree, in general 4-5-1 is an effective counter formation, to 3-5-2

I could also list several other formations that counter each other possibly? Bearing in mind these judgements are based on my experience only, so may not be particularly accurate.

2) I do not think it is necessarily true 4-5-1 defensively with counter attack does not work. I imagine though yourself may have had problems with it, other managers in other leagues may well have used it succesfully. Do you have any fair statistical evidence conerning its effectiveness?

3) You have to be very careful when saying a specific formation is very good or effective.

I'm sure I could find hundreds and hundreds of posts similar to yours where people claim this is the best formation, a lot of these claims made because of a few games success, and they can't all be right!

I'm sure some formations are better, but as I said in the original post I think it likely almost any formation can be successful depending on the league, players, other formations etc. . .

4) The reason 3-5-2 and 3-4-1-2 were specially mentioned is because, I do have real evidence behind the claim based on thousands of games that they do work under certain conditions (when the team is particularly strong and lots of teams use the default formation, amongst other things.)

However even with these I have used them in several game worlds and they have not worked at all!

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Re: JC'S DETAILED GUIDE To Success In Soccermanager

Ok,I edited my post so you can understand it better.I did leak a fe wpoints out since i am Multi tasking :eek:

Erm...i know the 3-4-1-2 and the 3-5-2 is porpular becuase it works.But what happens when you have a manager whom is also a experienced 1.Both have good teams and both uses 1 of the mentioned formations?What do you do?Its a personal question because i seemed to be learning slowly and slowly by asking questions. :D

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Re: JC'S DETAILED GUIDE To Success In Soccermanager

Ok' date='I edited my post so you can understand it better.I did leak a fe wpoints out since i am Multi tasking :eek:

Erm...i know the 3-4-1-2 and the 3-5-2 is porpular becuase it works.But what happens when you have a manager whom is also a experienced 1.Both have good teams and both uses 1 of the mentioned formations?What do you do?Its a personal question because i seemed to be learning slowly and slowly by asking questions. :D[/quote']

You answered the question yourself!

Play a 4-5-1 setup or other formation that you think will counter it, it will increase your chances.

If you are both using the same tactics, then the home team will largely come out on top, so if your at home, use 3-5-2 yourself.

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