A lot of teams go through dry spells during a season, some teams never get scoring at all to start a campaign. I’ve found a few ways to help this situation during my current journeyman save in Singapore. (Follow me on Twitter for updates 😉 These are scoring tips for struggling teams in Football Manager.
Starting off we’re going to take a look at your tactics. Many managers play in many different ways, and there is always a way that a team can score no matter the formation. For me, I was playing a 4-2-3-1, and looking at that you must be thinking, surely they can get a goal. Trust me, it was difficult. Have a look at these results.
You can see we started off pretty lifeless, then we’d have some matches where we’d light up the scoreboard, despite shipping a bunch of goals as well. This was followed by another barren spell. Or getting a late consolation goal after going 2-0 down. We were sitting at rock bottom of the league and things looked bleak. I started to look at my tactic. Throughout the season I was not only concerned with the offence but also the defence. Seemingly, when we scored a few we also conceded even more, so the balance was off.
It really didn’t look that bad at first, but the problems I was seeing were that we were having lots of shots but very few shots on target. Also, some of these partnerships had produced poor performances over a number of matches. I needed to switch things up and potentially even bring in some new recruits. I first looked at the striking options and we were definitely short upfront. Faizal Raffi was our main forward, but he needed backup. That came in 18-year old Sergi Balaguer, a Spanish striker with much better finishing than Raffi. But it was going to be a while before he put in consistent performances. I rotated fairly often between them for the rest of the season.
Settling on a formation
Secondly, in my scoring tips, I was flip-flopping between a Shadow Striker and an Advanced Playmaker behind the centre forward. I think in the end, the AP was more suited to what I was going for. The Shadow Striker will take many attacks on himself, and I wanted the attacking midfielder to create more than be the focal point of the attack. The more opportunities I could create for my forward, the more he will take those chances. Even if it ends up being only 8 out of 20. Also adding a striker with better finishing helps in this case. Hazzuwan Halim was well-suited to the Advanced Playmaker (AP) role because the best player in my squad over the next couple of seasons.
Next in my list of scoring tips, I dove headlong into the daily training sessions. Each week focused on the struggles of the previous week. That’s my general approach to training, it’s not ‘set and forget’ and it’s not on auto-pilot where my assistant is setting all my sessions. Especially this low down the leagues, in a more obscure footballing nation such as Singapore. I don’t trust the quality of my staff.
I try to find the best staff I can to fill the holes in my backroom. However, I need to scrutinize their work more so at this level. Thinking about scoring goals, you need to be able to fashion chances. Also, focus on the style of play that you’re setting your team up to play. As well as, putting the ball in the back of the net.
Specific Training Sessions
I’m a fan of mid-week match practices. Where after working on a few technical sessions prior, the team can practice those in action before the next game. Then fine-tune the rest of the week before the game on the weekend. Oftentimes, we don’t have the luxury of one game per week. In those cases, we have to be diligent in not wasting any sessions on things that the team will not gain from.
Chance Conversion, Chance Creation sessions I think has had a positive impact on striking performances. It’s hard to really say what specifically is working, but I think it’s probably a combination of sessions and focus that will produce results in matches. I also think that if you are too heavily focused on attack or defence, one or the other will suffer. Have a look at the different attacking sessions you can use, the technical sessions, and the match preparation sessions when it comes closer to game time. Make sure you don’t overwork your squad to avoid numerous injuries but be deliberate in your scheduling.
Individual training calls for more specific scenarios for your players. Are you trying to train them in a new position or develop a new trait? Maybe you’re trying to make them a better finisher? There comes a point of diminishing returns. You could be over-training your players resulting in injuries if your team training sessions are higher intensity. Individual training could also have less of an effect on development based on the player’s age or the quality of your coaches. There are a lot of nuances I think in individual training, so I would say be pragmatic with this.
You can try to improve specific attributes for your strikers to improve their finishing for instance, but to me, the team working well together and being focused in their intention to score will result in goals. Rather than, a striker focusing on improving his finishing specifically. If the team is not collectively moving in that direction to put the striker in a better position to score, no individual training on finishing will have a great effect because of the lack of chances to apply his skill. However, it may improve his finishing by 1 over the course of the season, maybe.
Another area to consider for scoring tips is interactions. Team talks are the most obvious area. I wouldn’t try to sugar-coat or lie to your players for fear of revolt. It’s important, to be frank, up-front, and honest to your team as it has effects on your own skills and reputation as you grow in the game. Football Manager is intelligent enough to take note of how you interact with your players and media where it has an effect on others in the game perceive you over time. Criticize your team for not taking their chances, criticize players for poor performances, ask them to improve in specific areas. Also, anything you can do to improve morale is welcome. A happy team is a team playing well.
The mystery of why your team is underperforming is often perplexing and can leave you scratching your head. Fortunately, Football Manager has numerous ways you can try to affect change, and I encourage you to take advantage of everything. It’s very frustrating to watch your team fashion 20 shots and only get 3 on target, so I hope some of these scoring tips will help you on your journey to create a well-oiled goalscoring machine.
- Football Manager Save Ideas – Fallen Giants
- Jogo Bonito: Perfecting My Best 4-2-3-1 Formation Yet
- FM23: What Makes a Good Shadow Striker?
- Going (Semi-Pro): Life as a Lower League Manager
- Creating a Unique Tactic in FM23