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Football Manager 2019 Guides | Bossing Pre-Season

Aubameyang in Pre-Season 2018

With the new football manager season underway, we are going to be releasing a series of guides for Football Manager 2019. Throughout the year we will be giving you tips on everything from tactics and training, to scouting and youth intakes. For our first article, we’ll naturally start at the beginning: Pre-Season!


All of the guides will use this save. I am managing Arsenal because they were the first team on the list. Also they are well-known so people will understand specific circumstances regarding players. I kept all settings/reputations at a default level. I just wanted to use a save consistently for every save so that it can show a progression. So here are my steps to have a successful pre-season.

Step 1: Sort the Schedule


This is especially useful for teams lacking financial power. You should always make sure you’re playing lots of fixtures. This helps players gain match sharpness and gives you a chance to rotate your team and give your youngsters a chance on the main stage.

Playing against teams in countries like U.S.A. and China will also increase your global identity, helping your income internationally. My board actually organised a training camp in China which I’ve decided to attend. You can always cancel plans made and re-do them yourself. When you start a new game it will give you a series of matches to play but you can always arrange your own yourself for a bit more money and match practice.


If you go to your schedule and select ‘Arrange Friendly’ you can select multiple friendly matches, a tour or even a small cup for your pre-season. I selected three days and three fairly strong teams and I could potentially make £1.3m from just those three games! Smaller teams can also play these teams but they are less likely to accept the friendly.

  • Playing more difficult matches may lower morale but will bring in more money.
  • Playing easier matches will give your players more confidence, but won’t have the same monetary gain.
  • Also playing more matches increases injury risk. Make sure you don’t overwork your players before the season has even started.

Step 2: Building your team


Every time you start a new season on Football Manager, to get the best out of the year its crucial that you do the foundations now to steady the ship. Evaluate your squad and work out who is your dead weight and who needs replacing. You need to be constantly looking for weaknesses in your side. Even if you’ve just won a quadruple, other teams will improve so you have to match it.

From this analysis page I can see exactly what our issues are: Squad depth and a few attacking players might be required. We’ve got some good youngsters who can develop and we’ve also got some of the best scouts to help me find my next star.


This is a great tab for people starting at new teams they haven’t managed before. If you select all positions you can see exactly where the cracks are in your side. As you can see I’ve got two strong strikers, a strong right winger and CAM but I’m lacking a winger on the left. (no offence Danny Welbeck)

It also helps if you aren’t sure what kind of tactic you want to play. You can have a rough idea of a style but you might have to compromise depending on your players. This helps me find transfer targets and who might need to leave the club.


This year in football manager the tactics system has been completely overhauled. The game has pre-set styles of football you can use or you can create your own if you’re feeling brave. These are a good place to start for the more casual player as you can use well-known tactics. This makes the game a bit easier but also gives the game a more creative side for more skilled/serious gamers. Starting at a less-familiar side is made much easier by these plug-and-play tactics.

Step 3: Failing to Plan = Planning to Fail

Setting up your background staff is always tedious but it always pays off. Like most actions in Football Manager, you can get your assistant to hire other members of staff but its much more rewarding if you can do the work yourself.

Planning your staff and training is very important, especially with the new training system. You can focus on tactics, team cohesion or fitness to help your team catch up where its lacking. Going back to my team report, my team has good natural fitness, but is lacking some technical ability. Therefore I’ll be focusing my training on technical skills and maybe some set-pieces.

You need to remember that the more effort you put into your pre-season, the easier the season tends to be. If you don’t prepare during this time, you may lose players due to injury and your players won’t be sharp enough and it could lead to a bad start to the year.

I hope that these steps will help you have a successful pre-season and season as a result. This is by no means fool-proof, as having a good pre-season doesn’t always mean you’ll do well in the year but it will give you a much better chance. More guides will be available in the future to give you the best tips and tricks we can find.

Why not check out our other articles on the site?

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Football Manager 2019 Guides | Youth Development

Training in FM19: How to develop, motivate and condition players in your training plan