For football gamers around the world, the latter part of the year is always worth looking forward to, as that’s when Sports Interactive and Sega roll out a new edition of their iconic Football Manager series. That too applies to mobile gamers, as Football Manager 2020 Mobile recently arrived for iOS and Android devices, packed as usual with thousands of real-life players and hundreds of actual football clubs from more than 20 countries.
Of course, that’s fewer players, leagues, and countries than what you could get in the PC version of the game, but when it comes to association football/soccer games for mobile devices, you can’t get much better than this.
Now, we’ve covered a whole lot of ground in our first two Football Manager 2020 Mobile guides, but we’re not quite done talking you through the things you should remember when playing the Career mode of the game — arguably the most popular of the three modes and the one that allows you to rewrite future history (if you can call it that) by controlling real-life players and real-life clubs across multiple seasons.
In our previous guides we’ve explained you the basics and given you a number of intermediate-level tips, so in this Football Manager 2020 Mobile guide, we will be moving on to the more advanced facets of managing your club. We may include a few things we may have missed in our previous Football Manager 2020 guides, but we shall mainly be talking about those helpful hints and strategies you should be keeping in mind if you want to enjoy long-term success in your role as your club’s manager.
1. Going On Holiday – Its Pros And Cons
For as long as we can remember, Football Manager has allowed managers to go on “holiday” — that is, delegate management to your assistants as the game automates everything that takes place in the in-game universe for a given period of time. In Football Manager 2020 Mobile, you can choose to return from your holiday after your next match, after one week, or after one month, and while on holiday, you can choose various instructions for your assistants.
By default all these options are left unchecked, but you can ask your assistants to reject all offers for players, reject all offers for non-transfer listed players, not offer new contracts, not buy new players, strictly stick to the shortlist when buying players, or apply for management jobs at clubs with a higher reputation. Simply choose the Manager option in the left-side menu, tap on Holiday, and you can set everything up from there.
However, the question you may want to ask at this point is this — is it a wise idea or not to go on holiday? Is it fine to speed up your progress by letting your assistants take over momentarily, or should you manage your club from start to finish, without taking any breaks in between? Our best answer here would be to check your schedule in the Fixtures section of the Club menu — if you’re up against considerably weaker opponents (e.g. the lower-ranked teams in your league, lower-division clubs in cup play if you’re managing a first-division team) for most of the next month, you can feel free to go on holiday for as long as a month.
Bear in mind that the computer-controlled assistants are not as intuitive or as “smart” as a human manager would be — even if you ask them not to do anything (the safest choice) by leaving all the options unticked, they’re likely to make simplistic coaching decisions while you’re away! In other words, going on holiday at any time is a modest risk at the very least — you certainly would not want to do it if you’ve got a tough schedule ahead of you!
2. More Tips For Buying And Selling Players
By now, you’re probably familiar with the process of how to buy and sell players — we discussed the negotiation system in a previous guide, and as you should know, you need to make sure that negotiation mood does not hit zero by setting things at incredibly low levels in terms of transfer fees, signing bonuses, wages, and the like. But there’s more that you may need to know about this process, as it’s also important to impress the board when it comes to the players you buy and sell while the transfer window is open.
Generally speaking, board members do not like it when you overpay for players, buy a player you don’t necessarily need, or accept lowball offers for your own players, especially if they’re a key part of the first team.
For example, you wouldn’t want to spend your entire transfer budget on another striker when your club is loaded with such players, and you also wouldn’t want to sell your best midfielder for pennies on the dollar, just so you could give your transfer budget a much-needed injection of funds. What you want to aim for instead are those deals where you’re saving money while filling a need — check your Team Report in the Team sub-menu and you may have a better idea of the players you should be seeking out in the transfer market.
It’s also best to seek out players in their early to mid 20s in order for you to maximize their prime years as part of your club’s roster, and if you see a low-priced Wonderkid (extremely promising players aged 21 and below), then by all means, go ahead and bid for him. His club will probably make it hard for you to acquire his services during the negotiation process, but it’s always worth a try.
Talking about the players you should be selling, we would normally recommend those who are getting on in years but still highly valued — by the former, we mean players who are in their late 20s to early 30s. You would particularly want to sell these players if they don’t see the pitch as often as your better players.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to sell players who have negative personalities, considering that this adds to your team’s volatility and disrupts squad harmony. These players appear to be rare in the game, but if you see a player whose personality (second screen from the left when viewing players) is Unambitious, Temperamental, or whatnot, you should get rid of him at the soonest possible time, lest he ruffle any more teammates’ feathers.
The opportunity to buy and sell may not be there during your very first transfer window in the game, but once the second window opens, that’s when AI-controlled teams may be more active in making deals — as such, expect more messages notifying you of offers (even for non-transfer-listed players) during the second transfer window.
Likewise, you can use that window to make the deals you weren’t quite able to make during the first — if you weren’t able to come to terms in one area or another before the other side lost patience and their mood dropped to zero, you’re always free to make another move for the player once the transfer window reopens.
If you’re managing a lower-league club with a limited budget, it’s advisable to search for free transfers, particularly those older players with experience on first-division teams. Choose Player Search, then Customise, then choose “No Club” under Contract Status, and hit the Search button. This will bring up a list of free-agent players who are presently unemployed, and once you’re there, you can sort them from oldest to youngest by tapping twice on Age. Granted, these are all past-their-prime players, but their experience could be valuable for those lower-division teams in need of some proven talent.
Even if you’re managing a club with a great reputation, you might notice that you won’t have enough funds to afford the cream of the crop of the world of football — these are non-transfer-listed players who are considered untouchable in the eyes of their managers, and you will see that when making offers, when a player would be described as an “indispensable” member of their club.
You can always go to the Manager sub-menu and choose Board Request, then ask the board for an increase in transfer budget, though this won’t work for everyone. We shall discuss this in the very next tip for a clearer breakdown of what to expect when making board requests.
3. Board Requests – Not Recommended For Low-Reputation Managers
When starting a new game in Football Manager 2020 Mobile, your club’s Board of Directors will allot you with a certain amount of money for your transfer budget and wage budget. The Board Request screen — same screen we mentioned above — will also show you some relevant information on your Training and Youth Facilities (specifically, their quality), your home stadium’s capacity, as well as your average attendance.
Your main purpose for heading to this screen, however, would likely to be to submit a request to the board in order to improve the club aspects we mentioned above. Do you need more money to pay your players or sign new ones, or need more time to rebuild your club? Do you think your stadium can use more seats to accommodate the fans, or do you need improved facilities to speed up the improvement of your players?
Lastly, maybe you think it’s high time you resigned from the club, may it be in search of a new challenge or because you want to try your luck with an organization that has a better reputation. It’s all possible through the Board Request sub-menu — but your chances of getting that request approved are far from guaranteed.
If, when setting up your manager information, you chose to enter the game as an inexperienced manager, there’s a very good chance the board will not grant your request and merely ask you to focus on the management of your club — it’s the FM2020 equivalent of being asked to keep quiet at the dinner table while the adults are speaking.
We mean this — if your reputation hasn’t been built up yet, the board will not have much faith in what you can do with the additional money, and it won’t matter if you’ve done well in the first few months of your first season. Your best bet would be to wait until your second or third season or later before making these requests.
Now if you chose to make things easy by entering the game as an established manager, you’re likely to get those requests granted — provided you’re generally making the board happy, as shown in the Board Confidence screen.
4. Improving Your Club’s Roster Is Important, But Don’t Neglect Your Staff
It’s understandable to focus on improving your first team so that you have a better chance of getting promoted to the next league or winning the top league’s championship. In order to win, you need better players, and it’s perfectly understandable if your main focus was on them. But those players need to remain healthy, and if injured, it would be best if they return to action sooner rather than later. You’ll also need good coaches to get the most out of your experienced players’ abilities while developing those of your younger prospects.
Lastly, you’ll need people with a good eye for talent, for finding those diamonds in the rough with untapped potential. In other words, your staff’s level of expertise needs to be consistent with your club’s reputation, and that applies to your physiotherapists, coaches, and scouts.
Choosing the Staff option in the Club sub-menu will give you an overview of who’s who as far as your club’s non-playing employees are concerned. Each coach, scout, and physio will have corresponding badges based on their expertise level — these are Gold, Silver, and Bronze badges, and these are, of course, arranged based on how good a staff member is.
If you’re managing a top-level club in your country’s top league, you probably wouldn’t want any Bronze staff members employed, while if you’re in the lower-tier leagues, having more than one Silver staff member may be a luxury.
If you see that your staff could use some shaking up — you would be notified of this in your Team Report, if it says you “need to improve the standard” of the backroom team — you can go to the Search sub-menu, then choose Staff Search. Replacing an outgoing staff member with an incoming one will cost you some money in most cases, but the good thing here is that staff members are much more affordable than players.
Upgrade your staff if you need to, because you just might feel the impact of a substandard backroom team when you least expect it! (e.g. a top player who gets injured and takes longer than expected to get back.)
5. Give Playing Time To Your Backups During Easy Matchups
Typically, the best way to ensure you have the best possible starting 11 per match is to go to your First Team, choose Clear Team under Actions, then choose Pick Team to let the game automatically choose the best starting lineup at any given time. This ensures that almost everything is taken into account and typically gives more players a chance to see the pitch, as top players are typically rested momentarily (say, for about a game or maybe two) once they’re too fatigued, thus giving a chance to your backups.
But take note that we said “almost everything” will be taken into account — what if you end up with a weaker lineup against a particularly tough opponent because most of your best players played their heart out as you scored a 5-0 win against your league’s whipping boys, or a lower-division club in cup play?
Unless you enjoy padding your stats with those matches against weak opposition (which should only be done at your own risk), you’re better off manually tweaking your starting lineup so you can keep those key players’ legs fresh (or fresher) for the more important matches.
If you see on the scouting report that you’re heavily favored to win, or if you simply notice that the other club is hardly likely to pull off an upset, you can take this opportunity to load your starting 11 with players you’d ordinarily field as substitutes — or leave out of the entire lineup on most cases. To ensure you don’t get upset, you can leave some regular starters in there, or field them as substitutes.
As you may surmise, this strategy works especially well if you’re controlling a high-reputation club, but if you’re managing a team in the lower leagues that happens to be in the top five of the standings, you can also explore this option. Just as usual, make sure to check your schedule in the Fixtures section so you can have a better idea of how to optimize your player rotation and guarantee that you don’t play an important match with many of your best players too tired to play up to par.
6. The ‘Personal’ and ‘Coach Report’ Sections – Getting To Know Your Players Better
When viewing the different player screens in Football Manager 2020 Mobile, you would probably view the default screen to check their attributes, the contract screen so you know when you should be renegotiating their current deals, and their stats screen more often than you would the others. But you should also be paying close attention to the Personal and Coach Report screens, and if you’re dealing with a younger player, their Training Report as well.
Under Personal, you’ll have a chance to do a deep-dive into each player on your club, as well as everyone else in the game, including their date of birth, their second nationality, their favorite clubs and players, and more importantly, their personality and role description. We mentioned the former earlier, and aside from showing you which players are likely to cause trouble with their teammates, their coaches, or with the media, it could also give you an idea of whether you may need to replace them with more relaxed — or even Normal players.
If you see on the team report that you’ve got a volatile collection of players, this may be because you’ve got too many Ambitious or Driven personalities on your squad. Definitely, these are good traits to have for any athlete, but you know how it goes — too much of a good thing is seldom ever good. Also be sure to check this screen to get the best idea of how happy a player is on your club, or if they’re considering taking their talents to other organizations.
Aside from the Personal screen, you’ve also got the Coach Report, which shows you each player’s current and potential ability in terms of star rating — this is very important when you’re looking for new players to purchase. You’ll also see their strengths and weaknesses, as determined by your coaching staff.
Likewise, this screen will also include some comments about how the player is gelling with the rest of the squad or about what the future may hold for that player — positive comments have green backgrounds, neutral ones have orange, while negative ones have red.
7. Improve Individual Weaknesses And Have Players Learn New Roles Through Training
We mentioned the Training Report in the last tip though ultimately, we believe it deserves a separate tip of its own because of the things you can do through this screen apart from simply viewing player progress and other related information.
Although it’s far from being as instantly effective as purchasing a new player, it is also possible to use the Training Report to make one of your players — especially the younger ones — learn a new role under the Focus Role section on the left side of the screen. You’ll normally want to do this if the role they’re currently focusing on in training is different from the one marked by a blue star next to it — the Recommended Role, as once again determined by your coaches.
Next to that, you can change the level of training intensity — Heavy training results in quicker improvement but increases the chances of heavy fatigue and injury, Normal training is just right in the middle and is recommended in most cases, while Light training is best for players who are coming off injuries, as it doesn’t put that much of a strain on their bodies.
Finally, on the right side, you’ll be able to choose an attribute you want to focus on during your club’s training sessions — you might want to change that attribute if you see that the current one is at 15 or greater, or if there’s a particularly weak attribute that you want to improve.
Another thing to look out for would be the comments regarding each player’s training progress — like in the other two screens we discussed above, green, orange, and red backgrounds designate positive, neutral, and negative comments respectively.
If a player is at a point in his career where he’s unlikely to improve significantly or expected to see his skills deteriorate, there’s no use putting them through backbreaking Heavy training. But if it shows that they still have lots of room for improvement, you can alternate between Normal and Heavy training depending on your schedule.
8. Pay Attention To Mentoring Opportunities For Younger Players
If you’re planning to play Football Manager 2020 Mobile for multiple seasons, you should be aware of the fact that your best players won’t be young men forever. As you play more seasons, those 20-somethings in their prime will enter their 30s, and if you don’t plan to sell those players because they mean too much to your team (sometimes, you may eventually need to part ways with them), you might as well maximize their strengths as veteran players and agree to the mentorship opportunities suggested by your coaching staff.
Agreeing to have an older player mentor a younger one is, in most cases, a good thing, and once you chose this option when prompted, it’s essential to keep an eye out to ensure that the mentorship is running smoothly. If it is, and if you see the progress bar on the Mentoring screen (the very last one under Club/Training, also viewable once you receive messages regarding mentoring progress) is almost full, you’ll know that you made a good decision to partner the veteran with the youngster.
Conversely, a lack of progress and red thumbs-down comments in the Status section are signs you should hit the white Abandon Mentoring button on the upper-right corner of each section of the screen, though you should be careful when you tap on this, and make sure you saved your game beforehand — you won’t be asked if you’re sure whether you want to abandon the partnership or not!
Overall, mentoring is a great way to help your younger players grow and live up to their potential, which would come in handy when the time comes for them to take over as your top guns and hopefully lead your club to even more glory in the later seasons of your save game!