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Football Manager 2020 Mobile Strategy Guide: Team Mentalities, Player Morale, Tactics Screen, Player Loans and Scouting Agency Explained

As you may know by now, Sports Interactive has once again joined forces with Sega to release Football Manager 2020 Mobile for iOS and Android devices, selling the game for $8.99 or its equivalent in local currency. While this is a paid game, this is undoubtedly justified by the wide, wide range of features, thousands of real-life players and teams, and an ever-increasing number of countries whose leagues are supported in the title. It won’t be easy — in fact, it may be a long, arduous trek — from the bottom to the top, and even if you start out with a good team, you’ll need to figure out a good many things before being considered an expert manager.

So you’ve mastered the basics of the game and you’ve probably won a few matches, especially if you’re controlling a first-division team and defeated some easy opponents in your league cup, thus piling up the goals and improving team morale.

However, that’s just the start of things — many more challenges will follow as the season continues, and as an intermediate player, you may be wondering about some of the other aspects of the game that are obviously there in front of you but aren’t often used by newbie managers. We hope to cover some of these aspects in this Football Manager 2020 Mobile guide, where we touch on several tips and tricks we believe would come in handy if you’ve figured all the basics out and are hoping to sustain your early success.

Team Mentalities – Know What They Are Before You Use Them

In the Shape section of the game’s Tactics sub-menu — both pre-match and during the match itself — you can choose the basic, default Mentality for your team. This will represent their mindset for all 90 minutes (plus injury time) unless you make changes in the middle of the match, and generally speaking, it’s best to choose a Mentality that caters to your team’s strengths.

However, those strengths — and your team’s weaknesses — may vary as you add or subtract players, or if a key player needs to sit out due to injuries or suspension. There are also in-game factors that may force you to change your team’s Mentality in order to catch up after falling behind, preserve your lead, or prevent having to settle for a draw. But before you make any changes to Mentality, it’s important to understand how each of the seven work.

football manager 2020 mobile team mentalities

The first Mentality to discuss is Balanced, which, ideally, preserves the balance between offense and defense. While this is the safest Mentality to use, the fact that it’s safe does not always mean that it’s the best, as going Balanced eliminates the risk-taking that could potentially win a match. Defensive, while not the safest, allows you to focus on preventing your opponent from scoring, including playing it safe on offense and having the defenders play closer to the goal. Contain is a more extreme version of the Defensive Mentality, as it forces your defenders to focus on the opposing player with the ball and cutting off his passing options.

Counter refers to a counter-attacking strategy where your defense helps fuel your offense, as it involves moving quickly on the attack after regaining possession. Attacking is pretty self-explanatory, as it’s the basic offensive-oriented Mentality. Overload is, much like Contain is Defensive turned up to 11, an extreme version of the Attacking Mentality where you’re essentially shooting first and asking questions later. Finally, Control is a slightly offensive-oriented Mentality that is centered on maintaining ball possession.

Your choice of Mentality may depend on your preferred play style, but it may also be influenced mainly by your team’s strengths and weaknesses, as we mentioned earlier. Make sure to view your team reports and familiarize yourself with everyone on your first team before settling on a Mentality.

Related: Football Manager 2020 Mobile Advanced Guide: Tips & Strategies for a Successful, Long-Term Managerial Career

For example, if you’ve got a strong defensive unit and typically play 5-4-1 or any similar formations with one forward, you’ll typically want to go with Defensive or Contain, and if your attack is the strongest aspect of your team, an Attacking mentality would be recommended, with good midfielders making Control a good choice as well.

And when it comes to in-game changes, don’t be afraid to shake things up if you’re at a disadvantage — switch to Defensive, Contain, or Control if you’re trying to preserve a lead, switch to Overload if you’re trying to mount a late comeback, use Counter or Defensive if your opponent has started off with a quick goal or two.

Keep An Eye On Player Morale

As the old saying goes, you can’t please everybody, and that’s certainly the case if you’re the manager of an association football club, may it be in real life or a game like Football Manager 2020 Mobile. Even if you’re winning match after match, you may notice some players on your squad whose Morale is Poor or worse — there’s also a chance you will learn about this through the team reports you receive in your email.

football manager 2020 mobile player interaction

Once this happens, you have the option to talk to the player — either speak to him in private or praise (or bash) his recent play in a public statement. Simply tap on the player’s name, choose Actions on the bottom right corner of the player screen, and choose Talk to Player — you will have the choice to make positive or negative comments about the player’s last match, his training level, recent disciplinary actions like red cards (if applicable), and other topics.

Choosing to make the positive comments public could have a greater effect on player morale than talking to him in private, but it’s not always guaranteed to work! There’s also a possibility you may end up tanking a player’s morale if you give them a punishment that does not fit the crime — one bad game, for instance, should only merit a warning, and not any kind of fine.

There are many things that can affect a player’s Morale, and it’s not just the obvious good form affecting it in a good way or bad form/lack of playing time causing it to decline. Your lack of managerial experience could play a role in a player’s subpar morale, because let’s face it — experienced, established superstars don’t always have a lot of faith in nobodies who come out of nowhere to take over as manager. Or perhaps you yanked that player from a match way too early, and with no good reason? New players may also be demoralized as they adjust to playing in a new country, while existing ones may be upset if you give a huge contract to a talented player from another club.

Regardless of why a player may be demoralized, it’s important that you take time to talk to them in private or comment about them in public. Oftentimes, morale issues sort themselves out on their own, especially if your team’s form is excellent and you’ve routed your last few opponents. But even if they do, talking to your players when you need to shows that winning isn’t the only thing that matters to you.

Read The Post-Match Reports

It’s not just your scouts’ pre-match blurbs that you need to review in Football Manager 2020 Mobile. Sure, it’s important to know what to expect from your next opponent, but it’s also important to take stock of the postmortem and review what you did right and what you could have done better once the match is over. You can do this by viewing the post-match reports right after the match is completed, or going to your Inbox and viewing the reports in between matches.

football manager 2020 mobile match report

Before you actually hit on View Report, you’ll get a brief summary that includes the final score, the general assessment of your team’s performance (did you dominate the opponent, were you lucky to win, or were you a victim of bad luck in that loss or draw?), and your top goalscorers. But once you hit that button, you’ll see a complete list of positives, negatives, and your team’s average rating on a scale of 0 to 10.

If you see far more positives than negatives, chances are you’re doing the right thing, but in order to get the best idea of where you need to improve, you’ll need to pay the closest attention to the post-match reports for those encounters that ended in a loss or a draw. Even narrow wins against substantially weaker opponents are worth reading, because it’s more likely than not that you had more negatives than positives due to how you won despite playing poorly.

After taking stock of what you’ve read, you should have an idea of what in-game adjustments you need to make in your next match, or whether you need to change your default Mentality in order to get better, more convincing results. Draws and losses shouldn’t be the end of the world — they should be learning opportunities, and it’s the post-match reports that prove this and then some in this game.

Interview Questions – Be Careful How You Answer

On occasion, your Inbox may contain a few questions from the media, where they may ask you to comment on your most recent match, one of your players’ great (or terrible) run of form, or various other topics. These may sound like one of those situations where there isn’t a real right or wrong answer, and while that may be true at times, you’ll still need to watch your words when you get to speak to the media about these topics.

football manager 2020 mobile media response

Typically, you will have three options when it comes to these interview questions — a positive-sounding one, a negative-sounding one, and a neutral answer. When talking about questions regarding a player’s good form, these answer types can also be interpreted as effusive praise, downplaying the good performance, or refusing to comment. If you’re trying to boost a player’s morale or make sure it remains high, for instance, you’ll usually want to go with the effusive praise and speak highly of that player.

But you also have to take the board’s reaction into account — they may not like it if you praise a player who’s obviously underachieving, and they will definitely be furious if you refuse to comment or deny things that are so obviously true, such as financial troubles or poor team form. After answering the question, you will get a message showing you how the board reacted, so do not neglect them, and try to answer as honestly as possible!

Player Loans – When to Borrow Someone And When To Loan Them Out

If you’re managing a weaker team, meaning any club that plays in a lower division, your chances of getting an established player from the first division are next to zero. However, their younger players will typically be far from ready for the big-time — these are typically players in their teens and early 20s, and unless they have the coveted Wonderkid status, they’ll invariably be scrubs compared to those in the first team. But that doesn’t make them bad players — in fact, they may be ready for first-team duty in a few years — and while they wait for that big chance, you can approach their club and see about acquiring them via loan.

football manager 2020 mobile loan offer

You’ll need to go through the usual negotiation process when acquiring these players (albeit temporarily, of course), and that means choosing Loan as the offer type, setting the Duration (recommended until the end of season), and choosing how much you wish to pay them (if applicable) in the Wages section. You may also be asked to choose a Buy Out Fee.

If a player is especially good, you may some other teams in the Interested Clubs section, and you may want to see if you can offer that player a better deal than the competition. Also, when choosing weekly wages, keep your club’s budget in mind when setting them, as overpaying someone you’re acquiring via loan could take its toll on your finances!

Conversely, loaning out players is a good way for your stars of the future to earn some valuable experience and help them toward reaching their potential if you’re managing a first-division team. You probably won’t have a chance to play them unless you’re dealing with a ton of injuries, so you might as well accept offers from other teams that could give them an opportunity to show their stuff on the field.

The Scouting Agency – A Snapshot of What’s Happening Here And Abroad

Need to brush up on your knowledge of world football? Or perhaps you’re pretty knowledgeable about different leagues from around the world and you, as a Football Manager 2020 Mobile player, want to see who’s the best player in your in-game universe, both in your country’s local leagues and around the world.

The Scouting Agency feature allows you to do this, and we recommend, just as usual, that you check it out whenever you can. Tap on the Search button on the left-side menu, choose Scouting Agency at the very bottom, and you will, by default, view the player rankings for senior clubs in your country of choice — you can tap on the button below the player list to toggle between National and World lists. These lists are updated monthly and would depend largely on each player’s in-game performance.

Aside from viewing the top 100 national and global players, you can swipe left to view other top-100 lists, including one for Wonderkids, or talented players age 21 and below, the Hot List, which shows players who are enjoying a fantastic run of form, and the Cold List, which shows those who just couldn’t build up any momentum and are following up one bad game with another.

Most of these lists are useful for showing you a snapshot of what’s happening in FM2020 world at any given time, but the list you’ll probably be viewing the most is the Wonderkids list. This would especially be true if you’ve got a club with a lot of players aged 30 and above and need to get younger sooner rather than later, or if you’re managing a lower-ranked first-division team that wants to substantially improve by signing someone who’s already very good as it is but has the potential to become even better in the coming years.

Weaker Teams Can Benefit From Free Transfers

Aside from acquiring younger, underutilized players from good teams via loan, managers handling lower-division teams can also make use of free transfers as a good way to quickly inject some talent into the lineup. Granted, not everyone who’s available for free would be worth adding — you’ll need to look at their attributes and their previous experience.

And speaking of the latter, players who are listed for free transfer are usually on the older side — these are players who are generally past their prime and no longer capable of keeping up with the younger guys.But with age comes experience, and if you look closely, you’ll likely find a free transfer who could help you in your quest for promotion. (Of course, if you manage a first-division team, chances are you’ll have little use — if any — for these players!)

football manager 2020 mobile player profile

In order to find players who are available for free, you’ll need to use the Player Search option under Search, then tap on Value in order to sort the listed players from cheapest to most expensive. The negotiation process will be similar, in the sense that you need to take a player’s mood into account and make sure you don’t annoy them by offering insultingly low wages. But with transfer fees out of the equation, that’s all you need to worry about — it’s the player, not their mother club that makes the decision, and that’s because they’re essentially free agents.

Another thing to remember when negotiating is to make sure you aren’t overpaying for the free transfer in terms of the wages you’re offering him. The board might not appreciate that, and you may be eating way more into your budget than you want to! Likewise, bear in mind that you may not be the only club bidding for a free transfer’s services — if you can beat their offers, then go for it, but if you see that a rival club is offering wages that are simply out of your budget, it’s best to walk away from the negotiations and approach someone else.

Diving Deeper Into The Tactics Screen – The Rest Of The Shape Tab

Finally, we’re down to the match tips, as we talk about some of the things you may do during a match (or in between matches) while navigating your Tactics.

In our beginner’s guide, we did mention the Tactics sub-menu and touched on the importance of making changes on the fly. We discussed some basic reminders, such as shifting to a more defensive mentality and opting for a more conservative passing game when ahead, or switching to an Attacking mentality and playing more aggressively on offense if you’re trying to rally back from behind. But what about the other aspects of the Tactics screen?

First, let’s talk about the Creative Freedom section under Shape — as you can see, you have three options here, namely Disciplined, Balanced, and Expressive. What you’ll want to keep in mind when choosing an option are your players’ Decisions, Flair, and Teamwork attributes — if they’re generally on the high side, you can go with Expressive, but if the numbers are consistently below 10 for most (if not all) players, your best bet would be to set things at Disciplined. Otherwise, going with Balanced Creative Freedom ensures that you aren’t playing things too safe or gambling too much in terms of letting your players do their own thing on the field.

Still sticking with the Shape tab, Tempo is probably self-explanatory, so we won’t go into detail about the Slow, Normal, and Fast options aside from saying you want to go Normal for the most part, opting for Slow if you’re trying to keep a lead and Fast if you’re trying to come from behind. Width, meanwhile, is arguably more interesting, as your choice here would depend on where you want to direct the passing — Narrow helps focus most of the passes toward the center, Wide focuses mainly on the wing players in the left and right side, and Balanced mixes things up.