Football Manager 2018 – The Lonely Traveller – Part 2

Continuing my walk through the first season of my Football Manager save, taking a look at some of the features of the game against the backdrop of my own mental battles. Part one here.

On Second Thoughts…

Well that didn’t last long!

Having got my head round the 433, I played my first game against Hastings. Again we ran out 7-0 winners, Salah helping himself to a couple, Firmino assisting 3 and decent ratings across the board.

However I grew concerned early on that we weren’t creating much. Using this save as the learning experience it is intended to be I put highlights on full match to see what was going on. What I found was that my wing backs weren’t getting up the pitch and beyond my inside forwards, leaving the 2 wide attackers isolated. Instead of cutting in field and becoming extra strikers like I wanted, they were remaining wide. Indeed Salah, although he scored a couple, made his most meaningful contribution via crosses to Firmino. What’s the point in that? If he’s going to cross he may as well be on the left and use his strongest foot. This isn’t what I want.

I basically have 2 choices at this point. I can persevere and work through these issues or I can just say screw it and go back to 4231. Um…guess what?

Yes that’s right, it’s back to 4231. I feel a little foolish after having made such a thing of switching formations but hey, it’s my save. The point is to have fun. I also don’t want anything I write here to be a burden on what I do in game. The purpose blog is to help me explore mind traps, not to weigh me down with some self inflicted burden. A quick reload later (by the way I say ‘quick’ but there is a routine I have to go through. Every time I restart I delete my save game and my tactic and repeat the whole process again, right down to editing my manager profile and resetting my social media links. It’s part of a cleansing exercise and something I’ve done all the way back to CM 93/94. It’s almost a punishment, an acknowledgement that I’ve been foolish, stupid (labelling words) and therefore I must pay this penance. It’s an OCD trait, a term I do not throw around lightly) and we’re back with a 4231 save.

Playing Hastings again we run out 8-0 winners. General performance is about the same with Salah again grabbing a couple. Firmino impresses with 4 goals and a 9.8 rating. Although from the outside in it probably doesn’t look much different, it feels different to me, better. Despite my reservations around certain roles, especially next season when Keita joins, I think I just prefer this. I must though remember to retain flexibility and change roles, duties, tempo, pressing, positions and even whole formations as my time with the game goes on and I see patterns emerging.

Oh and just out of interest, our second game of preseason is against local side Bootle. We smash them 10-0, Ben Woodburn hitting 4 and getting a match rating of 10. He’s a bit good, huh? Interestingly he’s right footed, playing on the left. You know, like I don’t want to do with Salah…

Anxiety Diaries

…my pre-season report shows my projected line up with Salah starting on the right and my heart sinks. I’ve got it wrong! Surely he has to start at AMR? Then again, the line up sticks Milner at right back instead of TAA, so…

…I decide to look at the Under 18 coaching for the first time and see Steven Gerrard only has a 3 star rating for various coaching disciplines. I wonder if his skills are randomised and whether I can improve them by restarting…

…In one of my first saves I bought Nabil Fekir, unlocking the Steam achievement of buying my first player. I therefore feel a compulsion to buy him again so as not to make this unlockable a lie…

…Scouting feels overwhelming so far. It has changed significantly from FM17 with packages available to unlock knowledge of different parts of the world. I don’t get it yet and so my inclination is to run away from it and ignore it…

…Similarly training. I don’t know what I’m doing. Should I use fitness training? Cohesion? At what intensity? What’s all this match preparation gubbins? Maybe I should leave it to my assistant. But then am I really managing?

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