Fixture congestion in Football Manager is hard to manage, but there are ways to improve your teams performance throughout these times.
Whether you’re in the best leagues in the world, or playing multiple fixtures each week. We all want to find the best way to keep our team fit, and continue to perform. We all hear of the stories of teams first venture in to continental competitions and not being able to perform as well. This comes down to a lot of varying factors, so I’ve created this article to try and explain the methods I use so I can optimise my teams performance throughout the season.
I am guilty for this. I often sign players who will only be first team players and hope that they can play every game of the season. In reality, that often doesn’t happen. For me, I like to have two players who can play in every position and the odd younger player who can fill in the gaps where needed.
How does this help with fixture congestion? Quite simple. You have more players available to use. If you are playing three games a week, and only have one recognised left back. Those three games can increase the injury risk, as well as drastically increasing the players condition and fatigue.
You don’t necessarily have to buy the best back up’s in the world, but look at players who could perhaps play in multiple roles, or are cheaper than what you have. If you have a good enough youth player, make sure you get them involved as it will save you from recruiting an additional player.
Rotating is healthy
Swapping 8 players every game, might not be the best option. However, swapping the odd player here and there to allow players to rest and reenergise will help with the longevity of a players fitness and condition. Players are people after all, and that’s explained here. Although it is a computer game, you can’t exhaust players as they will peak too early and not be able to get to the same sort of form as they once were.
When you have an important fixture in a fixture congested week, try and play a rotated squad the game before. This will allow sufficient rest for those who will be needed in the more important fixture. This will also help with the players condition, fatigue and injury risk assessment.
Monitor your risk assessment tab
This can often be a tool which goes unnoticed, but is important to check out. FM_Grasshopper explains the importance of this much better than I ever could. This can be viewed here. With fixture congestion in it’s absolute maximum, this will give you a much more precise description of what players may need a rest, and what players have an increased chance of injury.
It’s important to try and rotate or at least not be annoyed when a player gets injured, when it’s clearly stated that they are at a ‘high injury risk’. Ultimately this section of the game is often overlooked. I like to use this especially during fixture congestion weeks, to identify any possible areas of rotation.
Training and intensity
I understand you want your players to become the best players in the world, but sometimes you have to think of the teams condition over the course of the season. Especially fatigue, you most definitely do not want this to creep up on you during the season and burn your players out.
During weeks with one game, I like to train as often as possible just so that the players are really developing. However, when there is fixture congestion, training is adjusted to an absolute minimum. I still train, but no where near as intense or work as hard. This for me helps with managing fixture congestion, as you’re likely to have more players available and recovering at a quicker rate with the right training.
Ensure you have sufficient recovery time, and don’t try and get players back too soon. I don’t necessarily mean getting players back to the club, but there’s way in which you can have rest sessions, as well as recovery sessions. These low intensity training modules will come in handy over the course of the season.
Expect to not be at your best
This is something I really didn’t want to put in here, but I have to. We all want to win every single game, and quite often the reality of it is we don’t achieve that. Congested fixtures are one of the biggest downsides to any clubs success. The constant rotating, the inconsistent teams and the lack of break.
With all these factors, and several external factors. The games might not go the way you want it to. This is fine. Reducing the chances of this happening, is something you should strive for. A lot of what I cover in this article scratches the surface. However, the further you dig in to this, the more you can look at ways to reduce these dips in form.
One of the most important aspects of this article. Staff recruitment. It’s essential. This is something that FM Tahiti covers in his Physio Power in FM21 Article. A very well written article covering the importance of physio’s. This same method can be applied to various different roles, giving you the same outcome.
What I find most interesting, it’s all well and good having physio’s, but it could be more damaging than it is good. Recruiting the wrong type of physio can cause more damage, and increase further injuries. Worse still, display players who are not ready, as ready. The importance of recruiting is essential here, and will definitely play a big part in your season.
I can’t stress how important this can be, and checking out FM Tahiti’s article will further prove this to you.
I have tried to cover as many of the different areas, that I believe have the biggest impact to how your squad works during fixture congestion. Although these are very brief in terms of what I cover. It is still fundamental that these are not overlooked, as it could really make a difference to your squad.
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