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Soccer Manager 2023 Guide: Tips, Tricks & Strategies to Manage Your Club and Win Trophies

In time to celebrate the return of the World Cup, one of the top football management games swooped in to serve the latest installment of their successful franchise. Invincibles Studio brings us Soccer Manager 2023, incorporating updates on FIFPRO-recognized players and teams, a revamped UI, and an enhanced tactic system fitting to test one’s edge in managing a football club.

soccer manager 2023 opener

Soccer Manager 2023 sports a livelier UI, a separate starting point option, an improved player transfer system, and pre-mixed tactical choices in matches.

soccer manager 2023 action goal

While it still does not have the actual in-field action that FIFA Mobile or Dream League Soccer offer that pins players on their screens, the multiple aspects of managing a football club stir its own blend of enthusiasm to get one hooked in.

In Soccer Manager 2023, you carve your own destiny: you can either build your own fictional team or pick your starting point from one of 900 plus real-life football clubs present across 35 nations. As leagues differ in level in terms of prestige and competition, your choice of club will face a proportionate degree of challenges drawn from angles like managing finances, meeting owner’s expectations, setting training of players, and of course, the intensity of opposing teams.

soccer manager 2023 match start

When picking a team, you will notice that clubs of higher tier or those with greater budgets are set with higher expectations or season turnouts. For the purpose of having a simple start, we initially went for a lesser known South American club (Fortaleza) and then proceeded to play a higher tier, European one (Valencia). You may opt to do the same if you’re still getting a feel or simply new to football management games.

If you have played any previous version of the game, you will recognize that Soccer Manager 2023 is still pretty much the same; it only dons slight alterations in the layout and interface design. Beneath the surface, you’ll see updated player ratings and team rosters with remarkable accuracy down to youth recruits (amateurs).

soccer manager 2023 user interface

Things will appear overwhelming at the start: the bright interface plus the shortcuts laden with exclamation points for prompts and guiding notifications. Just take things one step at a time. All you have to do is go to where the game leads you; the earlier phases will direct you to spend for necessary facility upgrades; simply do what is told because spending can’t do any ‘harm’ yet in the very early game.


On the onset of your Soccer Manager 2023 journey, you will be given two options; you can either build your own team or choose to be a manager of an existing one (a new feature). The former will let you etch a fresh start allowing you to pick your club uniforms and logo for a fictional team. On the other hand, the latter is much more aligned to the path available in earlier versions of the game.

Creating a team from scratch is technically a bit more advanced and you will have lesser things preset for you, so if you’re new to the game, it will be better to take the traditional start first. Once you’ve learned the ropes and you are already confident to begin with a clean slate, you can then test your ideas of a winning franchise by building a new team. For the purpose of this guide, we are focusing on the manager option instead.

picking a manager in soccer manager 2023

Similarly to the previous versions of Soccer Manager, you pick a certain specialty among three options: a training specialist who brings extra gain from training sessions, a finances expert who will receive a bit more funding, and a tactical ace who can sharpen a team’s in-field performance in offense and defense.

1.1 Selecting your Manager Specialty

Each type offers a strength and your choice must depend on which niche you are comfortable with. As we don’t intend to command you on what to pick, we’d rather have a rundown of the benefits each specialty brings and their viabilities.

soccer manager 2023 training manager

Selecting a training specialist eliminates the worry of rating discrepancies when you’re rotating your reserves into your active rotation because everyone’s numbers will be substantially helped by training sessions. You will eventually know that rotating players is essential to keep them happy in your team.

The outright benefit from a training specialist would be an extra training drill slot without any facility upgrades yet. This will be beneficial if you wish to, say, double up on training attackers which is of great of importance to make your team extra potent in goals. In the same way, if you are getting reports from coaches too frequently that some players are not in match shape, you can use the extra slot to inject an additional physical training session.

In general, a training specialist is great for squads with a young roster or a team with a majority of players who are within their peak or still climbing into theirs. As one is meant to maximize the effects of training, a training manager brings an equal form of advantage regardless if you’re a newbie or a veteran manager.

soccer manager 2023 suit manager

Suit Managers or finance experts essentially increases the amount of every offer you receive, whether it be for club sponsorships, player acquisition deals (trades included), and even negotiating with salary increase demands. Since you can get extra budget, you’ll get more confidence and capability in spending.

In your first season or year, the chances of running in negative financial numbers is high especially that you will be required to upgrade your club’s amenities. Don’t be alarmed by this because profit projection will account for a few years and everyone is not expected to excel in the pilot season.

Still, since a finance expert can net more cash in, you can afford an extra upgrade for your training ground, scouting, youth academy, or the Club Zone. As a result, a Suit Manager gives you a flexible advantage which works best if you are a beginner.

soccer manager 2023 tactical manager

They say that winning solves everything and in Soccer Manager 2023, applying the right tactic at the right time is crucial for winning. Being a Tactical Manager makes your choices in tactics extra effective, thus you’d be able to tilt some favor to your team. Additionally, your impact to your key players’ confidence will hold their morale up which will keep them going despite fatigue.

The players meant to benefit the most from a Tactical Manager will be the ones with the highest ratings. Therefore, it is the most suitable choice when running a top-tier team. If you’re going for a star-studded club like PSG, Chelsea, or FC Barcelona, being a Tactical Manager will make the most sense.

While it is the only specialty that can directly manifest in matches and best works if you prefer the Quick Play option, a Tactical Manager should only be picked if you’re playing in the highest leagues. If you opt to start somewhere in the middle or with a club only meant for the regional circuit, you cannot fully maximize the perks because the boost for better players can be offset by the ‘lesser’ ones and your priority is not really about keeping your team intact (early development steps will make you release some players and welcome new ones).

soccer manager 2023 attributes

Despite the differing suitability and strengths, there is no wrong choice among them. The perks you are letting go for not choosing the other two can be made up by pumping points in their counterpart manager attributes. Again, we have no specific suggestion on which one is the best overall pick since the most fitting choice depends on your familiarity of the game and the tier of your chosen club.

1.2 Getting the Functions of the Facilities

Running a successful club requires you to wisely allocate your budget in upgrading your team’s facilities. Improvements will give short term and long term benefits and knowing which ones to prioritize at what point is vital because your budget, no matter how much you get from your sponsors, will be limited.

To make things simple, we are briefly discussing each facility, their purpose, and when it is optimal to upgrade each. Instead of giving a blanket or generic advice, use what we will share in this subsection to help you decide on what is most fitting to your club’s needs depending on your chosen club and available budget.

soccer manager 2023 facilities

Club Zone – this facility opens your club for sponsors. Upgrading it will improve the amount of cash you gain per match, merchandise, TV revenue, and accommodation. Additionally, it slightly lessens the chances of your players to get injured and the time they need to recover from injuries.

soccer manager 2023 sponsors

If we will count the number of benefits alone, the Club Zone would be the one that brings the most. Despite that, it will be best to keep it at a minimal upgrade level in your first 1-2 seasons. While it can help in injury prevention and recovery, those two realities in the game are constant probabilities which are best to be buffered by having a reliable roster rotation in case a player needs to sit out from a match.

In terms of prioritization, you can bump Club Zone upgrades as a last priority except when you’re running top-tier clubs that can net better sponsorship deals and likely to receive player transfer offers. The cost to upgrade the Club Zone up to level 5, however, isn’t much compared to other facilities so ‘early’ upgrades will be achievable and understandable.

Training Ground – the importance of training needs no further justification. If your budget allows to further improve it after the first game-instructed upgrade, please do so. Upgrades will open training drill slots and the more slots you have, the more improvements you can give to your players.

soccer manager 2023 training drills

Regardless of their ratings, career trajectory, and morale, you must train your players whenever possible. Training is most essential to ensure that your main team is in match form. Always give top priority to upgrading your Training Ground and this applies regardless of what club you have chosen.

Youth Academy – every player, even the best ones, will eventually exit their prime and as they approach the end of your club’s conveyor belt, fresh ones should be ready in production, this is the role of the youth academy. Upgrades will work toward the capacities of how many budding players you can sift and the frequency of finding new ones.

soccer manager 2023 youth players

While it will take a long time for youth players to mature, you may find young players with a potential to join your reserve team and even recruit ones you can transfer (trade) to other clubs for profit should there be others interested to acquire them. The Youth Academy is a long-yielding investment and in your first few seasons, you can let upgrade plans for it to just sit behind the Training Ground and the Club Zone.

Scouting Network – for clubs with a huge financial buffer and a need to acquire promising players, this facility can be an instrumental piece for the team. The Scouting Network, based on its level, can look for players that may possibly be acquired. Upgrades will increase the number of scouts sent and the quantity, accuracy, and reliability of the information fetched.

soccer manager 2023 scout

When acquiring players from other clubs (or even free agents) you need to look beyond your budget, it will have its own set of considerations that we will get to later. As this dynamic is rather intermediate in nature, you’re best to only let your Scouting Network linger at level 1 or 2. There really is no immediate need to pour your finances to this facility.

Stadium – last but not the least, your home court. Your stadium can inject a serious amount of cash per season from ticket sales. Quite naturally, bigger clubs with larger fan following can benefit more from the stadium which makes upgrading it a reasonable choice.

Being big infrastructures, improvements to the stadium tend to be the most expensive and time consuming, so an early upgrade should only be done for top-tier clubs. This is to ensure that you get to milk it right from your first season with them. Meanwhile, if you picked a lesser team, you can slide upgrade plans for it as the last priority in your first 2-3 seasons.

soccer manager 2023 finances

It doesn’t take much to be acquainted with what each facility gives, after all you can explore each button and read the options that will be displayed. When it comes to upgrading, just be keen with your budget because a negative finance trajectory, especially for a club with a good number of following and high owner expectations, can break your position as manager (translation: you can be sacked).


In Soccer Manager 2023, being in charge of what happens more than inside the pitch gives you far more responsibilities beyond just focusing on offense and defense. Treat your team as a car that has many ‘moving parts’ before it can roll forward. For an easier illustration of how things work, think of your engine as the team’s training; the fuel is your finances, and the wheels being your players’ performance in matches.

All of the three elements are essential to roll forward, but the one that you should give focus the most is the point of traction, your players. You need to pay attention to their status in terms of moral, fitness level, chemistry, point in career, and future plans.

soccer manager 2023 squad check

To check your players, you can look for the Squad option on the vertical menu at the left side of the screen. This access is available when you’re not in a match; if the option is not readily available, you may have to tap on Home first for the menu to show completely.

Once the list of your players is up, simply click on the player you wish to check. The fitness and morale of players will go up and down from time to time, and naturally and your way to ensure that they will be at their peak performance in matches if they bear the max values in all criteria.

2.1 Fitness

When players are not match fit (fitness bar not maxed), it can have 2 implications. 1) they will get fatigued quicker and 2) they will be prone to match injuries. The injury dynamic of Soccer Manager 2023 is RNG-based, but if you have played for quite a while already, you may realize that it occurs more often in training. Lack of fitness can be addressed by running training drills (affects entire team) or using boosts or ad boost.

soccer manager 2023 boostable

To keep your job simple, spot which players have a fitness level is below 100%. It is highly recommended that you manually boost it together with morale and chemistry to the maximum allowed values especially if they are part of your main 11 and reserves.

2.2. Morale

Similar to how morale plays a role in war games, your players also have morale and it is equally important as their health (fitness). Instead of being expressed as a number, morale is represented by an angled, colored arrow with statuses ranging from Very Good, Good, Okay, Poor, and Very Poor.

soccer manager 2023 morale

A player’s morale is expected to decrease after each match if the outcome is a loss or a draw. They can also lose morale while in match each time the opposing team scores. While the latter is unforeseeable and can be inevitable, setting each player to the highest morale possible (vertically upright Very Good) will at least give them a buffer if you get scored on. By doing this, you can help ensure that they will not falter in fulfilling their roles which is represented by a colored number beside their names.

soccer manager 2023 request

Like previously mentioned, you can manually increase each player’s morale by using an item or ad-helped boost. You can also keep your players’ morale up by positively responding to any requests they might have and delivering on your response’s implied promise.

2.3. Chemistry

Each team has a unique chemistry formula inherent to theirs. It is a dynamic that defines a player’s ability to adapt to your team’s tactics. It has a high default value for players who are signed by your club and part of your first time; meanwhile loaned players will need time (multiple games and training sessions) so theirs can reach 100%.

soccer manager 2023 chemistry factors

Chemistry may also be manually boosted like fitness and morale, but the maximum values differ from player to player. You must meet the conditions implied by the screenshot above, else, it will have a limit that even manual boosts cannot breach.

Fitness, morale, and chemistry fluctuate over time and it is your role as the manager to monitor these three statuses especially for your first squad members. Having them at maximum possible values greatly increases your chances to win matches because it can ensure the quality and longevity of your team on the pitch. Let’s now move to tackle the ‘fixed’ details you must pay attention to for each player.

2.4 Position

From teenaged recruits to the seasoned stars, every player in Soccer Manager 2023 are fitted with particular positions. These default roles are generally divided into Defenders, Midfielders, and Forwards; some players will have a specific strong side for their position, while others offer versatility. You will know who’s who by checking out the letters after their position’s initial which can either be Center, Right, or Left.

soccer manager 2023 positions

As the manager, you have the power to deploy anyone at any position. However, unlike in Dream League Soccer where attributes are the basis (for example, anyone with a high speed and decent strength can excel as a Forward/Centerfield), making players slide away from their natural positions in Soccer Manager 2023 is a bad idea.

Players can still be stretched, but respect the color that highlights their name when you arrange your team’s formation; no highlight means that one is in his comfort positions, orange means he is playing a stretch, and red means he is off his strengths.

soccer manager 2023 performance numbers

While one can still function and play as usual, a player on his red will very likely register a low performance rating because his potential is substantially reduced. Think of it this way, you can essentially offset a player with a maxed Very Good morale just by assigning him a spot he is not comfortable in. If you are repeatedly using ad-helped boosts, you’re throwing away the time you spent to watch the ads.

soccer manager 2023 clean formation

You can browse a player’s specific preferred role by checking his profile before or during match and this lets you fine-tune their assignments to their optimal potentials. In general, having a couple of players on the orange is okay because it may be unavoidable, but beyond two and having a red is akin to putting your team on a handicap.

2.5 Potential and Peak Status

Part of your duties as a manager is overseeing players and setting actions for them in accordance to their career trajectory. Being adequately familiar of this dynamic lets you do the best decisions in terms of training, giving rotation priorities, loaning, and transferring your players.

soccer manager 2023 attributes sample

Players at their peak or about to reach theirs carry the best attributes they can ever have in a save slot. As such, they have the highest price tags. Use this information on how you want to build your club. The choice to keep them or trade them to other clubs for profit is up to you.

Building a team around players at their prime is a viable path to success, you may want to groom players in other positions to lift a team in a balanced way or further bolster the advantage your main guns already provide. Since you don’t have to deal with in-match nuances such as small passing windows, and shot/passing angle errors, an elite defensive team is just as valuable as a team armed with deadly forwards. So there really is no harm to enrich a team stacked with great defenders.

Our point here is to encourage you to identify your current roster’s strengths especially in your first two seasons because you do not yet have the privilege to chase lavish recruits. Check which on your team are at their peak or have ratings already near their peak projections and make plans for them.

soccer manager 2023 bids

Every now and then, you may get offers from other clubs wanting to acquire your players. You may be surprised that bids would come in even for the ones you aren’t using or those who are yet in your youth team. The common denominator behind such offers is potential.

When gauging potential, what you need to look out for is the age of the player as it tells how much room (or time) you have to hone a player and reach those pretty numbers. If a player with a great potential plays a role you need for your club, it will be smart to introduce him to action bit-by-bit (letting him play with the first team in 1-2 matches per season).

soccer manager 2023 screening potentials

Meanwhile, if another club presents a bid higher than the player’s value and you feel that you don’t likely need him in the coming seasons, letting him go would make you profit. The direction you wish for your club to take is the main premise here. Still, don’t aggressively put players to the transfer list and instead only use this feature reactively.

2.6 Future Plans

Every once in a while, you may get messages stating that your players are unhappy of their status in your team. This includes some specific requests and the most common would express that they want to be added to the main rotation which we have briefly touched in an earlier subsection of this guide.

soccer manager 2023 delivered promise

Usually, there will be 2-3 options on how you will respond to such requests. Your responses will affect the requesting player’s morale instantly and delivering on what you promise is important. Failing to fulfill your promise make that player consistently lose morale even if your team keeps winning. Ultimately, it will lead to the player requesting to be transferred if he doesn’t get the game time or rotation he wishes.

Checking the future information of your players lets you see their desire to stay on the team. At times, it may read like the screenshot above an say that the player wants to play for a bigger team. Generally, this is only applicable if you’re not playing in the highest tier, but you give the idea on what to do when you see such, there are two ways to deal with this.

If the player with such a future plan is relatively happy in your squad and isn’t suffering from a consistent and problematic morale drain, you may opt to loan him to a bigger team. If the player has a decent rating, bigger clubs will pick him up.

soccer manager 2023 player future

Loaning is the practice in football where teams can lend their players to other clubs without letting them go. This is to ensure that the player gains exposure and playtime which will help towards his overall development. In game terms, development is a player’s approach to his projected potential numbers.

Being in control of the future of your players just takes a bit of familiarization and complying to requests isn’t usually hard. Quite fortunately, they are almost always reasonable and achievable as the game was programmed in a way that players are ‘aware’ of their performance ratings, so as long as they’re happy in the team, there won’t shouldn’t be any outrageous salary increases demands.

To sum it all, being on point with your players will require you to regularly boost them in between matches to ensure that they are at the perfect fitness level and at least at good morale. Fortunately, Soccer Manager 2023 rarely runs out of ads that you can view for this purpose. As for keeping them happy, be aware which ones has a good potential ratings and make them play a few games each season.


Sports teams are revolving doors; trades happen, athletes age, players improve in their games while some hit a plateau or approach a decline. To adjust in this reality, you should consistently scout players who may be helpful to your franchise.

soccer manager 2023 scout assignments

When scouting, you can fine-tune the details you are looking for in a recruit. The screenshot above shows the particular specifications your scout can look for in a player. Before the scouting tool populates a list of prospects, you must input two specs at least. Naturally, you will want to tweak according to your team’s needs and ability to pay.

All criteria in scouting holds their own value, but ultimately, it will all boil down to the following, set in their order of apparent importance: transfer status > position > player value.

soccer manager 2023 scout reports

Transfer status is of top of importance because no matter how much budget you have, if a player is tangled in another contract yet, it will be a hindrance that would affect the acquisition cost and the time your prospect player can serve your team. You should ideally select either Transfer Listed or Free Agent to avoid paying extra.

Position, of course, dictates your demand. You would want to get new players to fill in any empty or weak roles. Whether it is to buff your scoring capability, beef up your defense, or get a reliable goalkeeper, you should consider what your team needs the most.

Player value is the consideration that involves the most variables. First will be how much budget you can spare to hire and keep your recruit. Second is to see that the player is not yet in his career’s decline. Third is the apparent impact of the player you wish to acquire in terms of chemistry and preferred role; it is in your best interest to make sure that he will be a perfect fit and be worth what you would pay for.

The result of the scout report will be comprehensive as it will show every detail you need to know about each prospect. The best part of it is the estimation that tells about the apparent chemistry in your team as it makes it easier for you to decide who to pursue.


The security of your position as club manager only relies one thing: winning. And because you have no direct and real-time control of your players on the pitch, you should pour everything with what happens before each match and be diligent in making adjustment while in one.

4.1 Always Avail the Rating Boosts

soccer manager 2023 level up rewards

We’ve mentioned earlier about boosting your players to help their fitness and morale level; be persistent in tanking those ad-viewing phases or at least be willing to let go of the boosts you accumulated. You passively earn boost each time you level up and there is about 25% chance that you will get some when you open free packs.

soccer manager 2023 pre-match

Apart from using boosts to cure morale, fitness, chemistry, injury, and suspension issues, always seize the pre-match ratings boost opportunity. If Soccer Manager 2023 is a MOBA or an RPG, this is the equivalent of having a buff. The 5% ratings boost is a huge help to offset any rating-related disadvantage. We don’t exactly know how the game is programmed to calculate ratings when it comes to having accurate kicks and successful tackles, nonetheless players with higher ratings naturally perform their roles better.

Before the start of each match, three random players from your main squad will be eligible to be boosted. The system is quite empathic because it will often go for the three players you need the most for an upcoming match. As such, don’t skip the opportunity.

4.2 Pick a Suitable Formation and Lineup

Before you hit the final “continue” to start a match, you will have the chance to choose the formation of your team. When you pick a formation, your main 11 (first team) will be rearranged to adapt it and they will be plotted regardless of their comfort positions and preferred roles.

soccer manager 2023 formation selection

In line with what we shared in the section about players, see to it that your formation will not compromise your squad member’s specialties. You may notice that when you select and browse different formations, some defenders may be force-positioned at the midfield. In the same way, midfielders may be pushed far to the sides or too deep to the front or back away from their desired spots.

When that happens, use the opportunity to tap into your entire 25-men first team and switch players around, ideally picking the ones with the highest rating for a position. You need to discover which is the best go-to opener formation for your team and it can only be done by playing matches.

Even with the help of guides, your Soccer Manager 2023 experience will involve a good amount of trial and error. Don’t worry and take courage to experiment because there can be no one-size-fits-all solution to avoid mistakes, you simply have to learn and improve as you play.

Taking a ‘safe’ go-to formation with the best player possible deployed in their spots is an important pre-match checklist because if the match has already started, you will only have a pool of 18 players as opposed to 25 at pre-match. With a bigger pool view you can either go 100% (use the strongest players at their positions) or turn the match into an XP farming session if you are developing young players.

 4.3 Go Tactical

One of the most important features of Soccer Manager 2023 is an enhanced tactic system. In the previous year’s version, tactics has its own settings section and fine-tuning them can be a little confusing.

soccer manager 2023 tactics

This time, there are strategy templates with fitting descriptions making it easier for you to draw tactics at different points of a match. There are ones for defense (Park the Bus and Hold the Ball), offense (High Press, Counter Attack, and All Out Attack), and balanced approach (Play the Channels and From the Back). Each one has a unique ‘flavor’ to them in terms of executing and mitigating attacks.

Since going tactical is all about being adaptive, it will be smart to carry a defensive or balanced strategy early on. In case you don’t know the difference between being strategic and tactical, we got you! Being strategic means you are carrying a fixed game plan throughout an ordeal. Meanwhile, being tactical implies readiness to do some changes to a base approach based on how circumstances.

soccer manager 2023 assistant manager feedback

It won’t take long for your assistant manager to give suggestions based on how the game is panning out. Whether your team is doing well or not, your assistant manager’s feedback will tell the reason for your advantage or disadvantage. If you are ahead or your team is doing well, stick with your current setup until there is a suggestion on how to improve the situation.

Fight the itch to proactively up the ante when you have the lead because if you can change tactics at any point, it is safe to assume that the AI has the same capability. If your team is getting outplayed, then it’s time to go tactical: make fine changes on your attack and defense protocols, provide a general order, or give specific instructions to players.

soccer manager 2023 instructions

Instructions are merely assignments for players to take on particular roles, mainly who you want to take circumstantial kicks plus the captain on the field. Selecting the best-fitting players is easy because the dropdown menu will show the rating of the skill or trait that matters most for a particular role. The Captain will display the Leadership rating of your deployed 11 while the rest will show the skill ratings for the special kicks.

soccer manager 2023 all kicks

Note that unlike in other soccer games where kicking is simply defined by a certain shooting or accuracy stat, players in Soccer Manager have ratings for almost every possible action on the pitch. There are eight separate ratings for kicks at different circumstances.

soccer manager 2023 general team instructions

General pertains to the mindset and disposition you wish for your players to assume. Fine-tuning the settings under it can help with the integrity of your attack and defense. Changes here will permit your players to be flexible or maintain a rigid approach that you trust will work.

Attack options lets you dictate your players’ range of movement, passing habits, and their focus of attack. When you adapt a strategy template, check if the preselected options correspond to your team’s formation and positioning.

soccer manager 2023 attacking strategy

There are formations that favor long ball passes (like defense-heavy ones) and there are some where micro passes will do bigger wonders (any formation that has a flooded midfield). When you are tweaking the passing and attacking styles, imagine how will plays will pan out. If you’re a football fan or have at least played games like Dream League soccer, you’d get a picture of your offense flow will go.

When in doubt, there is always a “mixed” or “normal” option, but they may not be as efficient or crisp as absolute choices like direct and long ball passes or lane-concentrated attacks. Choosing mixed and normal makes your ball movement rely on the Composure and Concentration mental attributes of your players. 

Explore which mode of passing and attacking will suit best the formations you are using. It’s no rocket science, just play on your team’s strengths.

Defence dictates the intensity and coverage of defensive pressure that you want to subject your opponents to. There are also options to give a blessing to your goalie to be a bit mobile and increase the tackling appetite of all other positions.

soccer manager 2023 defensive strategy

Similar to the attack options, your choices here should also match your formation as well the Mentality and Formation Fluidity you tweak under General. Additionally, the inherent command from your chosen strategy can affect how your defense is implemented. If that’s vague, just imagine this, if you set Park the Bus as your strategy and you set your tackling to aggressive, your players will attack ball handlers instead of just pressuring them and depriving them of space to maneuver.

Taking into account the power of your selections under the four areas of tactics, try to achieve a generally “safe” flow of tactical shifts through a match that is identical or close to the following:

1. Start with your base formation and apply a strategy with a slight inclination toward defense.

2. Wait and see if your team excels using your default setup or await feedback from the assistant manager.

3. Make adjustments to improve the situation if you’re behind. The suggestions from the assistant manager are always straight to the point and complying to them will become easier the more you get familiar with the game.

4. Once you have scored or seized the lead, prioritize defense to stop your opponent’s attacks and ‘freeze’ the score.

It is extra fulfilling to bury your opponents with as much lead as possible, but remember all you need to do is secure a lead until the match clock expires. If you maintain an intense offense throughout an entire match, your players will get more fatigued setting them more of them out of shape for the next game. A one-nil win is still a win, be contented.

4.5 Ensure Roles Synergy

soccer manager 2023 goal

Scoring goals, no doubt, is the main priority but it takes more than just muscling through the opposition with your attackers. Like a boxer utilizing kinetic linking to throw a proper punch, the whole body is involved. Your players on the pitch must operate in the same way to make sure that your shots fly with scoring potency. The positions in the field act as muscle groups and every player is an individual muscle.

This concept is implemented in the game by the preferred role feature. We won’t discuss each role type anymore since the in-game descriptions says it all. Instead, we’ll just tell how to look for it and include it in your tactical fine-tuning regimen.

Your squad selection duty does not stop at placing players in their comfort spots (or minimizing stretching of roles), it extends to configuring their micro designations. When you check a player’s profile, you will see his preferred role, it is his forte for the position he plays as.

Before a match or during one, there will be a player roles option by the right hand menu or at the tactics view, respectively. Browse it to see what is assigned to each player.

soccer manager 2023 player roles

Logically, you will want to assign them to their preferred roles as it will increase their chances of performing better. If the dropdown menu for a player is not showing a particular role, chances are, he is at a wrong spot in the field, the formation in effect does not permit to have one, or the formation limits the number of players in a particular position who can specialize.

Nevertheless, it will do no harm if you cannot match each player to wear their specialties. As long as you are assigning a forward to a spot meant for forwards, your guy with a Target Man forte (support striker who frames a Finisher teammate to shoot) will not hesitate to shoot when he is open.

The description of each role gives you an idea how a player will behave on the pitch in accordance to the assignment, but it is not 100% absolute. That is simply because football is dynamic sport. We’re certain about their non-absolute nature because we played dozens of games assigning a Fullback and a Target Man; the Fullback still helps push further into the opponent’s half of the pitch and the Target Man often ends up taking more shots and scoring more goals than the Finisher (as a result).

But, just how exactly impactful roles are? We’re saving you from another analogy and we will instead share an example. Below is the end result of a game where we fine-tuned everything: selected a strategy, tweaked the passing and attack styles to feed the ball to the box (so our forwards can simply shoot), and even threw in a youth player with an underwhelming rating of 62 for ‘control’ purposes.

soccer manager 2023 player stats

We won against an Elite-level team while we are still tiered as a Professional (just a step higher than Amateur. The youngster we fielded, Mosquera, had two clean long ball passes that landed conveniently to Duro (our Target Man) who converted with two goals.

soccer manager 2023 player profile

We assigned the low-rate rookie to his comfort spot and gave him his preferred role. Throughout the match, the assistant manager even called out Mosquera as a weak link three times! His two assists in a 5-0 win begged to differ, though.

soccer manager 2023 sack

We have honestly struggled in our first weeks of playing Soccer Manager 2023 and it took a while to figure things out; we were even sacked from the first club we managed. But through a persistent grind and relentless trial-and-error, we have found the winning formula.

 Boosting player ratings, choosing suitable team formation, brewing good tactical mixes, and assigning roles helped us turn our manager career around. If you’re struggling and that is what led you to this guide, just faithfully perform all the steps we shared above and you’ll be on your way to tame Soccer Manager 2023.


If you have read this guide from the top up to this part, you already have a solid idea on how to run a club and manage your players well. The previous sections are meant to tell you what you need to know, so this time, we’re reeling your attention to the things that you must not do or at least be cautious about to minimize mistakes.

soccer manager 2023 victory

5.1 Hitting Continue

The game may be operating through save slots, but in contrast to how save slots work years ago, there is no means to load your career at an earlier state. Every time you commit an action, be it boosting, moving players across teams, transfer listing, and of course, tapping on Continue, your progress is saved on the cloud.

This means, if you made an error, there is no undoing it. Accidentally choosing to continue without reading emails and training players technically waives your ability to respond and do any corresponding action, so always be careful.

Apart from that, any part of the game where you can spend coins has no safeguard confirmation window; once you tap on a button with a gold coin, the game will load and you will consume the precious resource in that instant. That is a scenario you want to avoid. Coins are valuable because if you can rack up enough of them, you’ll be able to afford notable players even the ones who are retiring and not transfer listed.

5.2. Quit Any Thoughts to Quick-Play

We abide by the advice we gave in our Soccer Manager 2021 beginner’s guide about choosing to Quick Play matches: avoid it at all costs. When you select this option, as opposed to playing the match, you will only get to inject tactics before the match begins and during the half-time break. You are putting yourself at a severe disadvantage by giving up your control of the match.

soccer manager 2023 quick fail

To illustrate how bad of an idea it is, the screenshot above shows the result of our squad going up against a team that was on a six-game losing streak when we faced them. Just a couple of games prior to this, we beat or drawn clubs like Elche, Real Madrid, and Villarreal FC, yet we succumbed to a sorry 3-6 performance against them. Do your manager career a favor, never go quick play.

In our experience, most of the results we got from quick play are mostly losses; there were a few times we got lucky and escaped with a draw. What we have noticed, however, is that, matches have higher score tallies in quick play. The highest output we got is 5 goals (in a 6-5 defeat); in manual matches, we have only breached above 4 goals once. Our best guess is that, the quick play option adapts a pure-offense protocol which is why it can work if you run a squad laced with high-rated players.

5.3 Be Sure With Your Substitutions

Players you have already sent to the bench cannot be reinstated in the pitch; this is not basketball. If you notice a player is registering a low performance rating, check the color that highlights his name. If he is not playing in his comfortable position, there’s a great chance it will be in orange or red, which simply means he is having a mediocre game.

A player exhibiting position related deficiency should not be subbed out right away; try to make him swap positions with other players and see if you can minimize or totally eliminate all oranges and reds.

Soccer Manager 2023 adapts the ‘new’ global rule in football which allows up to 5 substitutions per team in a game. This is a good change considering like other football games (like Dream League Soccer 2022) still follows the 3-sub limit.

When you drag or sub in a player into the pitch, make that you will drop him on the slot of the player you wish to send to the bench. Safe choices for such would be ones that show red performance numbers, has a fatigue bar halfway down, or anyone who has been given a yellow card.

5.4 Avoid Accidentally Moving Players to Transfer List

The transfer list, by default, is not evil, but it essentially acts as your team’s chopping block. Everyone put in it, even those who may get bigger offers from other squads, will not like the feeling of being prepped to be kicked out. Accidentally putting a player on the transfer list has a high chance of sinking his morale to Poor/Very Poor. Add to that, if he has a high team chemistry, your remaining players’ chemistry and morale may be proportionately pulled down.

player transfer listed in soccer manager 2023

If you have experimented moving players from different lists/teams and have somehow sent someone to the transfer list, you must remove him from the list ASAP. Should you let one linger in for a while, you may have to allot time to view ads and manually re-boost the morale of all the impacted players (or spend boosts).

5.5 Don’t Bite All Offers

In an earlier section of this guide, we talked about receiving offers from other clubs that will take interest in your players. While they all promise money which will be tremendously helpful to meet any increase-your-club-value objective, cash inflow should not be the only consideration.

soccer manager 2023 transfer bids

Transfers can only be finalized at certain points of a year and any player you approved to be traded will be transfer listed up until that point. Referring to the previous item above, being on the transfer list can invoke morale problems.

Another consideration is the viability of the player in regard to your team’s template. If you’re grooming a team rich with intense defenders, other clubs would notice your forte and will bid for your defenders regardless if they are in the first team, reserves, or even in your youth roster.

The key here is to gauge if your team will generally be okay to let a player a go. Determining that is simple, look for position redundancies.


We have mentioned in multiple points of this guide about using ad helped boost. Even so, we deem it worthy to create a separate section for it just to highlight this career-saving feature.

Basically, for everything that can be boosted, the game will always offer an ad viewing alternative. It means that ad boosts can amend morale, fitness, and chemistry woes.

soccer manager 2023 red card

Similarly, ad boosts can be used to offset the length of suspension. According to online football resources, a red card bans the penalized player to participate in their next 1 to 3 games, depending on the offense’s severity. In almost all cases, it’s just a one-game suspension, a matter that titles like Top Eleven and Football Manager adapts.

In Soccer Manager, red cards always mean a 3-game suspension or at least, that is what has been consistently true in our experience. Being out for three games is simply too much time. Fortunately, you can simply ad boost your way to lift or minimize the penalty; it requires 4 boosts to ease a red card.

soccer manager 2023 suspension

In the same way, you can ad boost the healing process of injured players. For the sake of efficiency though, we advise to only do it for players in your first team. Note that training sessions can also injure reserve players.

Ads can also shorten any waiting time by one week and that applies to facility upgrades, scouting, and youth recruitment. You can literally complete a project/task that takes 2 game months in just 5 minutes! This is something we heavily leveraged on especially for upgrading the Training Ground and Club Zone.

The message here is clear: almost every problem you can encounter in Soccer Manager 2023 can be resolved by viewing ads, so don’t miss out on the help they provide.

soccer manager 2023 winners

And that wraps our Soccer Manager 2023 guide! We hope that we have equipped you with enough knowledge to run a progressive club with all that we shared in this article. The game has a somewhat steep learning curve, but with enough focus, persistence, and a change of mindset, you can scale your way up to bigger leagues.

Although Soccer Manager 2023 is classified under the sports genre, it works essentially as a simulation title. May the tips, tricks, and strategies we relayed here be helpful to your journey as a club manager.

soccer manager 2023 goal celebration

If we have missed a detail here that could help struggling managers or you simply have knowledge to share, feel free to tell it to the community using the comment section below. Keep those goals coming and see you on the pitch!


Tuesday 24th of January 2023

Brilliant post thank you. Im having troubles with starting with a Champions league team QPR.. One season will be good butvthe next it seems that i can never win a game, the best would be a draw. Is there a go to formation that you preferred?


Saturday 16th of December 2023

@Lucas, Hi! Thanks for the warm feedback and sorry if this response is late. The likely explanation behind the "spike" of difficulty is how the game frames matches. The AI will learn your previous and most recent successful formations and tactical settings, thus they will be able to negate your strengths. This is SM's way of mimicking real-life scouting and prep.

The best bid against this is to disrupt the AIs computation by implementing 3-4 different formations and approaches (you can try switching formations at the second half and focus-attacking different sides); make their equations as wide as possible so when matchday comes, you will have an ace up your sleeve.

Elibariki Daniel

Wednesday 16th of November 2022

i would like to know about taking over a team does it remove me from the managerial position in the current club!? How do i buy the club that am managing in!?


Monday 15th of May 2023

@Elibariki Daniel, Taking over a club technically pulls you out of your current. You can of course re-buy your way in, but the progress (we are guessing) may be taken over by AI .