Knowing how to get your strikers scoring goals in FM21 is a skill worth learning. Picture the scenario: your strikers have scored a vast number of goals throughout the season, looking very threatening going forward. At some point, your striker(s) stop scoring and start missing what were previously easy chances.
Regardless of whether your team is on a title charge; promotion push or in a relegation battle, this is a problem that affects a lot of Football Manager players. Using my Wigan Athletic save (which I do as part of a YouTube series here), I aim to show you the different ways to get your strikers scoring goals again in FM21.
Use Friendlies to boost confidence
If your strikers are on a goal drought, a confidence booster may be the answer. Find a week where you do not have a game and organise a Friendly in your Schedules tab. The key here is to choose a “Lower/Much Lower Reputation” (weaker) team to play against, in the hope your strikers will score for fun against them.
From the screenshot above, I used a friendly against Pilkington for my Wigan players to start scoring more freely again, as we had scored 3 goals in the previous 9 league games. Safe to say the 12-0 friendly win did my team a lot of good in future games. We began scoring more often, with 16 goals in the remaining 9 league games, with 11 of those goals coming from my attacking players.
Show Faith to your Players
At times, you will get a news item about one of your strikers if they are on a goal drought, saying how they are determined to end this bad run. A good way to follow this up is to have a private chat with them, saying you have faith in them to end their goal scoring drought. They usually appreciate the confidence shown in them, which can lead to higher motivation by them in matches.
This happened to my main striker at Wigan, Ricky Jade Jones, who had not scored for a while. I right clicked his name, went to Interactions and Praise, before telling him I had faith in his ability to score goals. He went on to finish the season strongly, scoring 4 more goals on our way to the play offs.
Replace them in the Starting XI
Sometimes, your strikers are just not performing regardless of what you do, so the answer may be to drop them to the bench. Not only does this give your reserve striker a chance to score goals, but your dropped striker (depending on personality) may be more determined to win their place back.
I tried this for a few games with Folarin Balogun, my reserve Wigan striker, when he was dropped for Ricky Jade Jones. Needless to say, Jones ended up scoring 25 league goals in the league and kept Balogun on the bench. He just never rediscovered his goal scoring form, even when presented with the chance, because he was determined enough to do so.
Change up your Training Sessions
What your strikers focus on in training affects how they take chances on the pitch. If there are not enough Attacking drills, such as Converting Chances, strikers may be missing out on valuable shooting practice. Once a week (combined with Creating Chances), using this drill can allow strikers to improve their Finishing and Composure. Considering the AI coaches always under-train your players by default, you may need to add these in regardless.
During Wigan’s low scoring games period, I began adding in both of these training drills to give my more attacking players practice in front of goal. Needless to say, we finished the season strong (as shown in the earlier screenshot), finishing well before the play offs began.
Individual Player Training
If a player requires some Individual training to get them scoring again, it is a good idea to do this. In the Training tab, go to Individual where you can select each player and select some additional training for them. For strikers, I would recommend the Final Third (focuses on Composure & Decisions) or Attacking Movement (focuses on Off The Ball, Anticipation & Decisions). This all depends on the weaknesses your players may have in their attributes, so make sure to check this before confirming.
In the screenshot above, I assigned Jones to Final Third individual focus, which boosted his decisions and composure in front of goal. As mentioned earlier, this helped him rediscover his goal scoring form towards the end of the season.
Assess your Tactics
If your strikers are not scoring consistently, maybe it’s worth taking a look at the tactics your team are using. Is your tactic too defensive or do you have too many attacking players in very narrow spaces? Maybe your striker is not playing in a role that takes advantage of their strengths (hint: attributes)?
Figuring out your strikers best role may require experimenting in matches and seeing what helps to make your team better. Sometimes, it’s easy to see by checking the player role against their attributes and seeing where they are strongest. It all depends on the strikers you have and what roles they can play to help your team score more goals.
Knowing how to get your strikers scoring in FM21 can take time, during which you will have to decide which of your strikers you want to keep faith in on the pitch. It’s never a guarantee your strikers will start scoring again, even if you change up your training or boosting your strikers confidence in front of goal. But these tips are some of the ways to help your strikers (and wingers if you use them) scoring again. If all else fails, you could just drop them or replace them with wonderkids!
As for my Wigan team, we recovered to win promotion to the English Premier League. Not bad for misfiring strikers!
Other Articles you may enjoy:
- How to Recreate Tactics on Football Manager
- Using the Similar Player Filter: Buying Like for Like in FM21
- FM21 – Get the Most Out of your Players