It’s that time of the year again, as SEGA’s bestselling Football Manager series has a new version out on various platforms, including iOS. With two new leagues and an even bigger player database, Football Manager Mobile 2018 promises to be another blockbuster association football (or soccer) management game, as you can pick the club of your choice and manage them to victory across as many seasons as you like, with each season going by faster than you know it. All the major European leagues are included in the game, same with the first-ever addition of U.S. Major League Soccer (MLS), and just as usual, you’ll be tasked to choose lineups and match tactics regardless of the team or league(s) you’ve chosen. Will you play the transfer market or work with your own youth prospects to make your team better? It’s all up to you!
Of course, there’s no denying that this is a very deep game, and that there are tons of things you need to learn about gameplay and other aspects before you become a true Football Manager expert. But as we often do, we’re starting at the bottom and helping you learn the ropes, as this Football Manager Mobile 2018 strategy guide, the first in our series, will center mainly on tips and tricks for first-time club managers who may be new to the series, or simply new to the game.
1. Choose The Right League
Your first instinct when loading up Football Manager Mobile 2018 would be to choose your favorite leagues. With well more than 20,000 players and leagues from a whopping 17 countries, you may be tempted to go ahead and choose the leagues you follow, or to be even more ambitious, choose as many leagues as you wish, and as many of the 20,000+ players as possible. That might sound well and good if you’re a Football Manager veteran, and having a large chunk of the player database gives you a lot of options. But if you’re a beginner, you might want to focus initially on a smaller percentage of the database and only the leagues you truly follow. You should also take into account the fact that it’s easier to score goals in some leagues if you’re trying to achieve some goal challenges. (It also helps to have a less competitive league loaded, as you may need to move some players once they begin to get up in years.)
Pro-tip: If your goal in FMM18 is to eventually become an ITN, or international manager, you should make sure you’re choosing the right nationality for your manager character. More often than not, the top national teams will prioritize managers from the same country, so if you want to manage the English national team, be sure to make your character English as well.
2. You Can Choose Any Club You Wish
Many football management games, especially on mobile, require you to start at the bottom with a team of scrubs. But FMM18 has the flexibility to allow players to manage any team that they wish. If you want to manage and play against some of the biggest names of association football, you can choose any team from each country’s highest-tier league. But there are also lower-level leagues which you can take over, assuming that you’re up for a big challenge and want to transform a lower-league afterthought into a household name in the world of soccer.
Although your choice of team would be all up to you, that doesn’t exempt you from doing a bit of research to make sure you’re making the right decision. Choosing a club allows you to view pertinent information that could help you make a more informed choice, such as transfer budgets and the quality of their facilities. But you should also set your sights on certain countries if you’re looking to manage a club that has a second team (i.e. playing in an actual division) or a youth team, meaning a club where you can groom young players from within to replace your aging veterans. The Netherlands and Spain are two countries where second teams have leagues to play in, so keep that in mind when choosing a team to manage.
3. How To Prepare Your Training Setup
Once you’ve chosen the leagues and a club to manage, your next step should be to set up a training regimen for your club. There are different strategies that could work for you in this area, but previous versions have seen managers get good results for most players by setting Tactics training to Intensive, Attacking, Defensive, and Motivational to Medium, and Goalkeeping to None or Light. You’ve also got Fitness training, and that shouldn’t be overlooked, though setting it to Medium should be fine. The obvious exception to this general rule is the GK position, so when training your keepers, you should ideally have Attacking at none (of course, they’re supposed to prevent goals from coming in, and not score goals themselves), Motivational at Light, Fitness and Defensive at Medium, and Tactics and Goalkeeping at Intensive. You can also set Defensive and Attacking at Intensive for your defenders and forwards/attackers respectively. If you’ve got some unhappy players, you can set everything, particularly Motivation, on Light, so as to get their minds back into the game.
4. Ensure That You Have A Balanced Coaching Staff
It may sound like a cliche, but it is usually better to have a team that is strong in all possible areas, instead of a world-beater in a few, but weak in other facets of the game. That too should apply for your coaching staff. When taking over a team, you want to fill vacancies based on the openings that will give you a more balanced team that covers all possible areas of training. It’s also important to get the best possible coaches out there, preferably those that have a Gold coaching badge. Don’t worry if you don’t have an all-Gold coaching staff, as you can train your coaches and make their stats improve, provided they pass the in-game exam. You may have to pay real life money to buy tutors for them, but in any case, failing an exam means it will take some time before they can have a retake. Otherwise, you can fire anyone you don’t need, so that you have enough money to hire the big guns of the coaching world. When it comes to the medical staff, we suggest hiring two prevention coaches and one rehabilitation coach.
5. Tips For Choosing Your Starting Lineup
Having gotten those administrative tasks out of the way, you can now move on to the fun part, at least for us. And that’s choosing your starting eleven and the corresponding match tactics. Obviously, you want your most talented players in the starting lineup — check their attributes to make sure you’re starting the right people, and if you don’t see them as ever being starting lineup-worthy, you might have to consider putting them on the transfer list. Also make it a point to have some good substitutes onboard; you need someone to step up if a starter gets injured or fatigued!
Normally, you don’t want your youngest players in the lineup, unless they’ve got prodigious “Wonderkid” talent (we’ll discuss Wonderkids in a separate article, don’t worry). But even then, you may have some brilliant youngsters in your club that aren’t looking at a lot of playing time. For those players, you can loan them out to other teams to keep them busy. If all else fails, the Suggested XI feature will allow the team’s AI to choose the best starting lineup for you.
When choosing a tactic – again, this is something we will be discussing in greater depth once we get to the more advanced tips – it will all depend on your team’s strengths. For example, if your team’s strengths are in the defense and midfield, you should be fine with tactics that feature only one attacker. Conversely, you shouldn’t hesitate to use those tactics with two or three attackers if you’ve got the potential to score a lot of goals with your forwards.
6. General Tips For Player Management
Being in charge of a professional soccer club is no joke. Only 11 of those players can crack the starting lineup, and many players will start grumbling if they don’t get the pitch time they expect. As such, always expect some players to grow unhappy over time, if not almost immediately. Also, you have to take into account player fitness, the variable of fatigue compromising the form of your players, and the possibility of injuries. What can you do to manage your lineup for the best chances of avoiding the aforementioned pitfalls?
The first, and most basic tip would be to avoid playing anyone whose fitness drops below the 90 percent mark. If one of your players drops below that threshold, you should sub them as soon as possible; fitness could drop faster as you get farther from a perfect 100 percent, and injuries become more likely once a player’s fitness goes below 75 percent. You should also make sure that all positions have at least two players playing it, with your squad having no less than 22 players, or better yet, about 30 or so to ensure optimum depth without forcing you to break the bank.
7. Should You Have An A-Team And A B-Team?
Some FMM18 managers have gotten good results by having both an “A-team” and a “B-team” that see action on an alternating basis, say, 2-3 games straight for the A-team, then 1-2 games straight for the B-team. This should work well in most cases, as it helps you avoid the threat of unhappy players, while also allowing ample playing time for your younger players. Either way, you should have a good mix of veteran experience and youthful promise on both A- and B-teams — again, to balance things out. Alternately, you can also play your A-team against your tougher opponents, while fielding the B-team against weaker ones whom you can easily beat with the A-team.
With that in mind, always save your team selections after choosing your A- and B-teams (should you go this route), because it can be a real hassle to replace an entire lineup of 11 players (and their subs) just so you’ve got an A-team and B-team ready when needed!
8. Use The Squad Depth Feature To Determine Your Needs In The Transfer Market
Ultimately, you’ll need to go shopping in the transfer market to make your team more formidable, and the best, and simplest way to prepare yourself is by looking at the squad depth overview. You’ll see a list of players and their respective positions, as well as their star rating — if you notice a position that’s weaker than the rest of the others, you should take stock of that and use that information to guide you when shopping for players to add via transfer. But if you’re still lacking in funds to substantially improve your lineup via transfer market, you should be fine for some time working with what you have, choosing game tactics based on your strengths as a team.
9. Managing Your Youngsters
When we use the term “youngsters” in the context of FMM18, we’re referring to players who are 20-years-old or younger, including those who have the potential to become the next big thing in association football. How can you manage these young players, especially the so-called Wonderkids, if you’ve got a talent-packed lineup that has little to no opportunities for them to shine?
The first option would be to loan them out to another team. The important thing is that they get a chance to play, and that holds especially true if a player is 16 to 18-years-old. Once they reach the 18-20 range, it’s better if they get some experience with first- or second-division teams. In both cases, make sure that the clubs you’re loaning them to play a full schedule of fixtures; there are some clubs whom you will only see competing in cups, which means few documented chances to play, and few opportunities to grow.
Once your youngsters become too good to be loaned out, it’s a good idea to have them in your B-team, assuming you’ve decided to use the above strategy of having two full 11-man teams of skilled players to rotate throughout the season That further helps them ease into the flow of things, and become A-team material sooner rather than later.