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Football Manager 2011 Guide: Playing a Match

by: Simon Hill ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

There are a lot of things to keep on top of in Football Manager 2011 especially on match days. In this guide we run through the essentials for playing a match.

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    FM 2011 Matchday

    Now that we’ve dealt with setting up a new Football Manager 2011 game, sorting out your training schedules, setting tactics and formation, and signing new players and staff we can finally play some football.

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    Preparation – Scouting and Backroom Advice

    FM 2011 Pre-Match Advice   In previous versions of Football Manager you had to set a scout an assignment to scout your next opposition. This now seems to be a default. It’s very handy to check out the scout report about your next opponent and pick up some tips on how they are likely to play. You may want to change your tactics accordingly.

    You can also get specific backroom advice about your next match. They’ll tell you where your team has an advantage and also suggest opposition players that you should be worried about and sometimes even suggest how to deal with them. They don’t always agree and they can be wrong so avoid following their advice blindly.

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    Pre-Match Press Conference

    It’s safest to take a fairly middle of the line approach in press conferences and avoid giving away any tactical information. If you give an extreme answer in one direction or the other then some of your squad will like it and others won’t. Although you can potentially motivate players by criticising them it can be difficult to repair bad relationships.

    When it comes to pointing out danger men in the opposition line up this can be a gamble. Sometimes if you talk them up the pressure will get to them and they’ll fall flat, other times it will boost their confidence and they’ll bang in a hat trick against you.

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    Match Preparation

    The new Match Preparation option will have allowed you to practice three different formations. Obviously it’s best to use these formations in the game. You can get a quick look at which one your players are best at by checking the tabs along the top on the Match Preparation screen.

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    Opposition Instructions

    FM 2011 Opposition Instructions   You can give detailed specific instructions about how your team should treat opposition players. Your backroom staff will probably have advised you to close down a specific player and you can also choose to Ask Assistant at the top right of the Opposition Instructions screen. The quality of the advice you receive depends on the talents of the staff member giving it and they can be completely wrong so weigh it up and think about it before you accept their suggestions. In particular if you keep asking your assistant and the find you get a lot of yellow or red cards it’s probably because they’re telling your players to tackle hard.

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    Team Talk

    You have the same basic options as last year for your Team Talk. You can also ask you assistant to do it (in fact you can set this to always be handled by your assistant in Team Settings if you prefer). You can get Team Talk Feedback from your assistant too and it includes an overall idea of your team morale. For the most part you should keep it friendly and don’t be too demanding or your players will get annoyed. If you rip into them after an away defeat against a strong opponent you’ll only damage the morale.

    FM 2011 Team Talk   Individual talks can be useful. If you have a player who isn’t performing try telling them you have faith in their ability or challenge them to prove the doubters wrong. If you have a player on good form tell them to pick up where they left off last time.

    The half time Team Talk seems to have the most potential impact and if you get it right you can turn a loss into a win. It’s not a consistent system though and so you just need to keep changing it and deliver a different talk at each opportunity in the hope that something you say will work. Sometimes encouraging your team is best, especially if morale is low, at other times you should show your disappointment or anger, particularly if it’s a home game you’re expected to win and the players aren’t delivering.

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    The Match

    You have a huge choice of views on the action as it unfolds. Most people will want to view the 3D match engine and you can select from a variety of camera angles. It’s still not amazing but they have added a lot of animations this year and it gives you a pretty solid idea of what’s happening. Using the match controls you can set the game speed and decide whether you want to see replays or not. It’s all pretty self explanatory.

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    Tactical Changes

    FM 2011 Match   If you want to make major tactical changes during the game then it’s best to hit Pause at the top right and then hit Tactics to access your usual tactics screen. Here you can make substitutions, change your formation or change any of your tactics.

    You can also access Quick Tactics from the match screen and switch formation, do a quick sub or target an opposition player who might be giving you trouble. The ability to swap two players is a handy option in here and it might confuse your opponent long enough for you to snatch a goal or spark a mediocre performance into life.

    Your final option is Instructions where you can change your overall strategic approach to the game, handy for switching to defensive after scoring a last minute winner. You can also issue specific instructions to the players shouted from the touchline and the options in here are all useful when used in the right circumstances. If you decide it’s not working just go back in and hit the minus sign to the left of your issued instruction and it will be removed.

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    FM 2011 Assistant Feedback   It’s always a good idea to check out your assistant’s feedback at half-time. You’ll have an idea yourself how you think it has been going but your assistant could offer up some useful suggestions. If you aren’t on your way towards a great victory then it’s worth tweaking your tactics or making a substitution. Although, if you know you have your best eleven out there and no one is really underperforming, don't make a substitution for the sake of it. You’ll get a maximum of three substitutions so it’s best not to make more than two at half-time in case you get an injury. If one of your players is having a nightmare performance and making a lot of mistakes it’s generally best to sub them off, it is rare that they’ll turn it around in the second half.

    Choose your Team Talk carefully and use individual instructions for players coming on, telling a sub that they can make the difference can be effective. When you’re ready get back out onto the pitch.

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    FM 2011 Post Match   You get loads of detailed information in the Match Report after every game and you can access Analysis to see what individual players did in great detail. If you want to know where you went wrong then the answer is in here.

    What the fans thought about your performance will soon become apparent thanks to a comment from a fan’s spokesman. The board won’t comment unless they are very happy or very unhappy. The fan’s expectations are better in FM 2011 and if you play well but lose narrowly or draw they’ll sometimes accept it now, whereas in the past anything but victory wasn’t good enough.

    In the post-match press conference you should avoid criticising the referee it will only get you into trouble.

    That’s it for our FM 2011 guide but stay tuned because I’ll be posting a guide to the best young players and bargain signings in the next week or so. Research is currently ongoing.

Football Manager 2011 Guide

This is a five part guide to Football Manager 2011. Find out how to get started with the game, learn about training, formation and tactics. Get the lowdown on the new agents in FM 2011, how to negotiate contacts and find out how to play a match. There's a wealth of handy FM 2011 hints and tips here.
  1. Football Manager 2011 Guide: Getting Started
  2. Football Manager 2011 Guide: Training
  3. Football Manager 2011 Guide: Tactics and Formation
  4. Football Manager 2011 Guide: Contracts
  5. Football Manager 2011 Guide: Playing a Match

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