We love Football Manager, so we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks for those of you just starting out on your saves. If you’re looking for exciting young players to buy or interesting clubs to manage, see the links below.



Step one: select a team. We’ve got another piece on the site with a breakdown on a bunch of awesome saves you can try. So if you don’t have something in mind, go have a look there and try one of those.


Once you decide the club you are going to manage, choosing what active leagues to have available will determine the level of interactivity with other leagues other than your own.

Normally, it is best to pick relevant leagues. So if you’re starting a save in the Premier League, it’s worth making sure all the top five European leagues are active – at least

But bear in mind, the more active leagues you have, the more strain on your computer’s hardware. FM can be very demanding on processing power, so keep your computer’s performance in mind when choosing how many leagues to have active.

FM will indicate how fast you should expect the game to load with a star indicator. In saying that, you can add or remove leagues after you start your save anyway.


Picking your own manager stats can be rather confusing, but there are a few general rules you should follow. Firstly, it is worthwhile following the coaching badges and past playing experience level suggested by the game.

If you are starting at a tiny club, you will be able to increase those stats and grow as the club grows around you.


Disciplinarian, Motivator, Youth Development, Knowledgeable, Tactician, Taskmaster: these are the six default managerial focus options you can choose from. Each has their different focus.

Basically, you can pick one of those if they suit the type of manager you want to be. For example, if you want your club to have a clear focus on bringing youth through from the academy, definitely consider using the Youth Development preset. Likewise, if you know you are going to play a high-intensity pressing system, consider the Taskmaster preset, which will give you maxed out fitness, determination and mental stats, as well as 17 motivating and level of discipline.

There is no one size fits all set-up, so you will need to customise your base statistics to suit your save.


We will skip over the self-explanatory coaching attributes – attacking, defending, fitness, the goalkeeper, tactical, mental, technical and working with youngsters attributes – to focus on the more mental side of management. They’re more important, and a little more complicated too.


This attribute is especially important for those of you that want to bounce around different countries. The adaptability attribute will help you, as a manager, assimilate to different languages and cultures. If you plan on sticking in one country and one country only, you can crank this down and allocate the points elsewhere.


This sound unimportant, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. All those board requests – for more scouts or improved training facilities – you will end up making on your saves will be impacted by your determination attribute. The higher the figure, the more likely you will be in convincing the board to enact upon your demands.


These attributes impacts how broadly and accurately you assess player attributes outside of your club, with the ability to choose differing levels for both older and younger players.


This is quite a general attribute that will influence your interactions with players, backroom staff and agents in a range of different situation.


Getting annoyed at your players constantly coming to you with concerns? Having a higher level of discipline stat will increase the threshold for which players will come to you if they have a problem.


The motivating aatrribute will help you have a better influence on your players in team meetings and team talks.


Along with recruitment and player development, tactics are one of the pillars of Football Manager. You can download plug-and-play set-ups off various websites, but where’s the fun in that? The whole point of Football Manager is to manage football; creating your own bespoke tactic, that subscribes with your ideas or suits your team, is what Football Manager is all about.


Once you’re on the tactic tab, accessible on the toolbar, you’ll be presented with the tactics screen, which you can see below. This will be the hub for all your tactical decisions. Have a click around and get used to everything about it, because you’ll be seeing a lot of it.

Firstly, you should create your desired team shape. You can do that by clicking and dragging the shirt icons on the pitch, rearranging them in your preferred shape. You can also do it by choosing one of many present formations, which can be accessed from a dropdown list at the top.

After that, your focus should turn to the team instructions that dictate the style and methods of your side. You can do that with one of the four widgets to the left of the pitch – mentality, in possession, in transition, and out of possession. The titles are pretty self-explanatory: each influence different phases of play and the overarching approach that you want to play with.

When you click on those widgets, a pop-up screen will enable you to dictate your intrsuctions to the team. Common tactical sense is key when tweaking these. If you want to be a high-pressing side, choose to apply counter-pressure and push the off-ball lines (defensive and engagement) higher. If you want to play a possession-based style, shorten the passing directness option, and even the tempo if needed. It isn’t harder than you think.


Once you’ve established your team shape and instructions, you can assemble your team by dragging players onto the pitch in the positions you want them to play. After that, assigning player roles is the crucial next step. Player roles are a set of preset, often harcoded, instructions that mimick real-life examples.

The easiest way to do so is by clicking the drop down on each player. When you do that, you’ll be presented with the pop-up screen below. It will pull up all the unique roles that are relevant to the certain position. Pick the ones that not only fit your player but also fit your shape and style. Again, common sense is king.

The roles can be a little confusing at first, but Football Manager have provided blurbs and a moving animation that help illustrate their functions and traits.

A little tip: Don’t place too much emphasis on the star ratings. While they can be useful, especially when managing more unknown players, they aren’t the be all and end all. Just because a player has a lower star rating in a certain role, it doesn’t mean they won’t perform in that role. Use your intuition, and trial and error is often the only way of settling on the best role for certain players within the team style and structure.

Another tip: Quite often, the more basic roles are the best. Don’t get too caught up in your carrileros and raumdeuters; they can often limit your tactics, particularly if you don’t have the players to pull them off. Cramming too many playmaker roles into one team is counterintuative. Doubling (or even tripling) up on ball-playing centre-backs in a possession-based team isn’t the best idea either.


To further fine tune your tactic, to micromanage the way your team plays, player instructions with their individual roles are vital. This is where you can really drill down on the way you want specific players to fulfill the roles you’ve assigned them. One thing that should be noted is not all roles offer the same flexibility – almost all have hardcoded instructions, and the

In the example below, we want Philip Hellquist (an AM in a 4-2-3-1 system) to be more direct in his decision-making and fluid in his positioning. We’ve achieved that by tasking him with playing more direct passer and take more risks, as well as roam out of positiong and move into channels.

To pull up the screens above, navigate to the player instructions tab on the top bar. From there, you can click on different players and assign different instructions using the panel above. The diagrams do a decent job of showing what each instruction does, as do the descriptors when you hover your cursor over them.


Don’t be afraid to try stuff that looks like it shouldn’t (or won’t) work. Given the match engine dynamics of Football Manager, you will have to think a little out of the box to get the team the way you want it to play – especially when it comes to player positioning.

Above is a reasonable example. Pushing a full-back up to a wing-back will help them get forward more; dropping  a central midfielder down a line will help stagger your team’s positioning. You can be much more aggressive than this too, especially if you nail down the playe roles. Don’t be afraid to try different things.


Staff. They are a bit annoying to manage, but if you can sort them correctly early in your save, they’ll help build your clubs and even do everything you don’t want to do. Therefore, take half an hour at the start of your save and get everything right – it will be worth it in the long run, and you’ll win that half hour back quickly with the extra efficiency your staff will provide you with.

Once you’ve settled on a strong backroom that suits your needs, keep reviewing it every six months – or at least at the end of every season. You will likely lose some key members along the way, but you can (and will) be able to replace them if you’re on top of things.


First things first, head to your staff tab and look at the graphs at the bottom. These graphs compare the attributes of your scouting team to the rest of the teams in your division.

From here, you will be able to assess where you need to improve. In the example above, a fitness coach would probably be the next coach to target once there is a slot available.



A director of football should be your right-hand man in the running of the club at an executive level. You can assign them to do different tasks, suiting your needs. They’re key roles revolve around recruitment and retention of playing and coaching staff. They can target and sign players, if you so wish. They will also add, keep and sack staff from different aspects of the club.

If you can’t be bothered with press conferences, a director of football with good people management skills can handle those easily and save you a lot of time.


Fairly similar to a Director of Football, but more focussed on the on-pitch aspects of the club. This is one of those roles you can handle yourself, but a good technical director can save you a decent chunk of time. They can handle renewals of coaching staff contracts, and the like.

Our advice (particularly to beginners) would be to appoint one, and assign them to handle your reserve/youth teams while you keep control over your all-important first-team staff.


Your Head of Youth Development is in charge of bringing youth recruits into your club. We’ve covered the role in more detail in the youth intake section.


A good assistant manager will be your best friend throughout your Football Manager save. Find a good one and they can take charge of your press conferences, handle your team talks, take control of individual and team training, and just make your life a whole lot easier.

Therefore, on top of their coaching attributes, their people management, judging player ability, motivating, and determination attributes are important too. If you’re a more hands-on manager and you want your assistant to be more of an adviser, get one with a high Tactical Knowledge attribute – they’re pre and in-game advice will be much more useful and insightful.


Coaches will train your players and have a key role in their overall development while they are at your club. Training is broken down into different skill sections, therefore it’s crucial to appoint coaches in a balanced, methodical way. Make sure you have a workable mix of attacking, defensive, tactical and technical coaches.


Performance analysts are not the most important staff role in-game, but they will provide you with interesting reports on the opposition in the lead-up to matches, as well as reports on your own team and individual players.

The opposition reports are probably the most vital information they provide, giving you insight on how they set-up so that you can devise a plan to counter them.


Your scouts will help you find talent all over the planet. We’ve got a whole section dedicated to it here.


Like your scouts, your recruitment analysts will scour the globe for players, but they’ll do it with a twist, looking for players with standout statistics from whatever competition they are playing in.


Loan managers are the most expendable member of your staff – and probably the most exclusive. They tend to be reserved for the big clubs in the biggest leagues, those that have multiple players away on loan. Most people like to micro-manage the development of their young players and will send them on loan to clubs that they decide.

However, if you want someone to do that for you, the loan manager role will be worth thinking about. To use the loan manager, simply place players on your development list, set some parameters like playing time and wage contribution percentage, and your loan manager will do his best to find a suitable destination for them.


This is one is obvious: physiotherapists will help your players recover from injuries and play a role in helping to prevent them as well. The better they are, the more likely they will be to rehab players quicker.


Unlike physios, sports scientists are not there to help your players recover, but they play a role in helping to prevent injuries, as well as providing you information on the injury susceptibility of your players in the medical centre.


Hiring staff is an easy aspect of your save to neglect, but something that will pay off in the long run if you put in a little bit of time to hire the right people.

For each type of staff member, FM will help you with picking the right attributes for the role, so we will not venture there apart from saying that other attributes can be complimentary without being crucial, but there are some other aspects that are also critical.


We are skipping ahead a bit here, but this one is critical. As you build your club, you do not want to be shackled to long-term staff contracts. Why? The staff you can sign in League Two will not be as good as the staff you can sign once you reach the Premier League.

So be mindful of giving out anything long than a two-year contract until you are a high reputation club that has access to the best staff available. Otherwise, you are going to be paying out some hefty compensation or mutual termination fees to replace the staff you have with new staff.

This will impact your overall balance, which will then have flow on effects on your transfer and wage budget.


Looking to sign a staff member that is hired by another club? You will have to pay a compensation fee. Normally this is a nominal fee, but they can be hefty too. As a smaller team it can have a major impact on your balance sheet – so be careful!


Once you’ve signed coaches, you’ll need to assign them to a role within your training set-up: defending, possession, or attacking in either technical or tactical roles, goalkeeper shot stopping and handling & distribution, strength, and fitness coaches.

You can do this manually if you would like, but the easiest way to set this in ‘edit coaching assignments’ is to simply ask your assistant to assign them. Even if you do want to assign them yourself, asking the assistant to do it first can provide you a good starting point to base your own structure from.


Looking to save time? Not keen on taking control of those pesky press conferences? It’s time to head over to the staff responsibilities section.

From here, you can delegate different tasks to your staff. You can give them light responsibilities, from deciding which staff undertake coaching courses, taking control of friendlies, and managing the second team, to more heavy duty tasks, like taking control of training, negotiating signings and sales, managing contract renewals and assigning scouts. It’s all up to you.


Effective scouting is the key to long term success in your Football Manager save. It can be a little bit complicated to get your head around, but is one of the most important aspects of adding talent to your team as you move up the divisions and up the table piece by piece.


When you begin your save, you will be assigned a recruitment package. In Football Manager’s own words, the recruitment package sets the following: The package owned determines the number of players available to search through as well as increasing the knowledge level and player role visibility of players covered.

The different packages are as follows:

Ultimately, the world package is the best package, but it might not necessarily be the best package for your club. Managing in League 2? There’s no point wasting your money on a world package to find the best wonderkids in Brazil since you will not be able to sign them anyway. Nor will the amount of scouts you have be able to adequately follow players all over the globe.

You need to find the right package for you, so think about the number of scouts you have and your budget.


The old number rating system has been replaced by a letter rating system from F to A+, making everything a little bit opaquer.

Further muddying the waters, the knowledge level of your scouts on a player will greatly affect the letter rating they receive. As you can see in this image below, a player that is only 30% scouted can have a huge potential ability range: this player could either be a squad player in the Bundesliga, or a star player.

Don’t get too hung up only looking to sign A+ players: yes, they are the stars, but you will find some good value players at C and B level that will help fill out your squad, particularly at lower levels where transfer funds are harder to come by.


Learning how to best use the player search filter is a crucial aspect of finding bargains, young stars, and important loan players. The empty search filter looks like this.

Most of it is self-explanatory: age, position, role, attributes, etc. But it is worth familiarising yourself with the dropdowns at the top: transfer status, loan status, and contract status. Searching for loan listed and transfer listed players will help you find cheap players.

Many of them will be average, but there will often be some very decent options too if you take the time to look through some individual player profiles and send your scouts to further assess players that might fit your team.

But the contract status tab, especially early in your save, will be critical. The expiring deals options will help you find players that you should keep an eye on as their contract winds down.

You can sign players on a free within six months of their contract expiring, but you will need to wait until their contract finishes until they arrive at your club.

In the additional conditions section, you can even set a date even further out, so you can see players whose contracts expires in two years that you can shortlist and see if you can buy them for cheap with a year left on their deal the next season or play the long game to get them on a free.

There are a few other key ‘additional conditions’. For saves based in England, the work permit chance filter will help you ascertain whether you will be able to sign foreign based players

Another good filter is the EU national filter, which is key for saves in Spain and Italy which have strict limits on the number of non-EU players that can be registered in a squad.

Going even more niche, you will need the Basque nationality filter when doing a save with Athletic Club, where you will be limited to signing only Basque players.

The last crucial filter that some people overlook is not in the dropdown. It’s the ‘interested in:’ filter. With options for transfer or loan interest, there are a range of player interest levels you can set for, ranging from doubtful to extremely interested.

Be careful here. The setting defaults on ‘interested’, which may exclude really good players that might not be too keen on joining a club with a low reputation but can be encouraged to sign with a bit of coercion


Old Football Manager games assigned players a set value, whereas the new version throws up a range, making it more difficult to assess how much to bid for a player. Price ranges will show as a set value when a player is transfer listed, but all other players will show a range.

This range can be made smaller the more you scout a player, but seem to be wider ranging for younger players than older players.


Strong knowledge of regions and nations will give you a good baseline understanding of players in the region. This will give you access to some basic, but important information on a wider range of players: their guide value, more accurate attributes values, as well as key contract information like release clauses.

The knowledge tab within the scouting section will show you your knowledge of different regions and countries.

To better spread out your knowledge, ensure you are hiring scouts with strong knowledge of different countries to give you the best global coverage possible. The more fleeting knowledge you have of players, the better you can filter searches to find transfer targets down the line.


It goes without saying that sending your scouts out on assignments will be important for you to gain knowledge on potential signings.

Setting parameters like age, value, and position for your searches are obviously important depending on the type of player you want, but perhaps above anything else, the most important thing is the region you send your scouts to. Again, the country you start your save in, as well as the level of your club, will determine what regions are the best to scout.

In terms of outright talent production though, South America (South) with Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay is the number one destination for wonderkids, but Western Europe (Spain, Portugal, France), and Central Europe (Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, etc.) are also fantastic.

For more affordable players, Northern Europe (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, etc.) is an excellent place to go looking for cheap youngsters.


Above all else, the key to Football Manager is getting it right in the transfer window. So once you have sorted your staff and your scouts, it is time to focus on getting your playing group right.

Whether you are looking to reduce the age of your team, rebuild it completely, or buy players to win now, there are a few tricks to both buying and selling.


Selling players is never easy. Some don’t want to leave and some aren’t wanted by other clubs, but here are a few things that should help.


There can be a few factors influencing why there’s a player you can’t sell. Firstly, their wages are critical. Players on high wages are tough to sell. So be careful when signing a player or renewing their contract – are you going to be able to get them off your books when it comes time to sell them?

Also consider your asking price. It might be worthwhile transfer listing them for an unspecified fee and seeing what offers you actually get – your expectations might be unrealistic, and sometimes what teams will offer doesn’t necessarily correlate with the players stated transfer value.


There are a couple of reasons why your players might be rejecting offers from elsewhere. Often, it is because the reputation of the bidding club is poor. Sometimes though, it can be due to a player having only just arrived at your club, or due to them having just signed a new contract.

Occasionally, choosing the option to persuade a player to find a new club can help to influence them to accept more offers. Likewise, unsettling them or making them angry by changing their squad status can make them more willing to leave. Be careful though, because this can have a negative impact on your squad dynamics.


Above all else, the best way to improve your club is by buying the right players. We’ve addressed how to identify them in the scouting section, but here are a few general tips for signing players.


Low on transfer budget? The best way to buy expensive players without eating into your transfer budget too much, is by paying in instalments. Beware though, this will have an impact on your club’s financial balance, and potentially on transfer budgets you are given down the line.

However, the potential windfalls from a promotion or European participation you might receive from signing that player could make delaying the cost worth it… so keep all that in mind.

It goes without saying that sending your scouts out on assignments will be important for you to gain knowledge on potential signings.

Setting parameters like age, value, and position for your searches are obviously important depending on the type of player you want, but perhaps above anything else, the most important thing is the region you send your scouts to. Again, the country you start your save in, as well as the level of your club, will determine what regions are the best to scout.

In terms of outright talent production though, South America (South) with Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay is the number one destination for wonderkids, but Western Europe (Spain, Portugal, France), and Central Europe (Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, etc.) are also fantastic.

Another option is putting a fee in to be paid once that player reaches 50 games at your club – in that instance, you could potentially sell them before they reach that milestone and avoid paying the fee completely.


Signing high profile players to your lower profile club can be tough. But all is not lost. With a bit of encouragement, you may be able to get them to consider joining.

Step one: add them as a top target and tell the media you are keen to sign them.

Step two: tell one of your highest profile players to convince them to join.

Step three: tell their agent that you are very interested in acquiring their signature.

And then hope for the best!


Lastly, negotiating contracts. Everything is important here, but again, there are a few very important things to touch on.

Firstly, watch out for release clauses and avoid them if you can. Some players though, simply won’t accept contract negotiations without an embedded release clause. It might still be worth accepting, but try tying them down to a new contract as quickly as you can – without a release clause of course – down the line.

Secondly, every add on counts. Everything effects your overall balance, so if you are a cash-strapped club, beware of things like unused sub fees, appearances fees, etc. Thirdly, the agreed playing time will impact the type of wage the player asks for, so try to keep their status as low as you can.

Fourth, beware contract length. If a young player only wants a two-year deal, try giving them more wage and adding an optional contract extension for the club if they have really high potential. Likewise, be careful giving older players long-term contracts and weighing down the wage bill of your team as they decline.

And lastly, watch out for those yearly wage rises. They all add up come the end of the season, and that additional wage budget the board gives you can quickly be eaten up by wage increases for your existing squad.



Your Head of Youth Development is crucial. Seek to appoint a person with high-level attributes for judging potential, as well as one with a strong personality. The players that come through your system will mirror the temperament of your HOYD. Continue improve your youth recruitment, junior coaching and youth facilities by asking your board whenever the option is available. Above all else, this will be the most pivotal factor in producing the next golden generation.

After that, it’s pure luck. You can max out every possible youth development indicator, but bringing through a star-studded group will also depend on good old-fashioned random number generation. But take the above steps to give your club the best chance.


One of the most exciting changes that was made to Football Manager 23 was the introduction of dynamic youth ratings: the quality of players coming out of a nation can improve depending on their standing in world football.

No one really knows for sure at this stage what really impacts youth rating. Some suspect it has to do with club performance in continental competitions, some think it is national team performance – it is probably a mix of a variety of factors. Basically, if you win the Champions League with a Belorussian club, Belarus’ youth rating will go up. Nonetheless, this presents the opportunity to get stuck into some really long-term nation-building saves.

Some doubt has been cast however, over whether the dynamic youth rating system actually even works properly.


Squad dynamics have always been quite important in Football Manager, but they seem to have taken on a new level of importance since FM22. Team cohesion in particular seems to have a very strong impact on the level of a team’s performances.


As you will see below under team cohesion, there are some impacts on your squad that are attributed to the metric.

In this instance, with a ‘very good’ cohesion level, FM states that the players have ‘forged an extremely strong understanding’. The game states: ‘the team’s collective mental state has seen a significant improvement’, ‘this will greatly improve player positioning during matches’, ‘Players will experience considerable improvements to their vision and reactions to events unfolding when playing.

As shown in this video by Clayts, it can have a dramatic affect on results on the pitch:

Club atmosphere and managerial support are pretty easy to work on with good results, but it is the team cohesion that you should really focus on – and it can be improved!

On the flipside, wholesale changes to your squad will have a dramatic negative impact on your team cohesion, so bear that in mind when coming into a club and overhauling the entire playing squad.


Firstly, keep an eye on your club’s hierarchy. Below is an OK example of a hierarchy, but it can be better: your team can have up to three team leaders.

If your morale is poor, consider signing an older, more experienced player with a good reputation and leadership qualities to climb up the hierarchy and improve the cohesion of your club.


Another good way to improve your team cohesion is through the extra-curricular section of training, where you can schedule ‘community outreach’ and ‘team bonding’ sessions.

You can only schedule these once a week, and they will take away time from other aspects of your training, but they are great to schedule in preseason and midseason breaks where the impact on conditioning is not impacting your team.


Unhappy players can have a negative impact on your squad dynamics. Highly influential players and team leaders being unhappy is especially of concern, since their unhappiness/concerns can easily spread to other players in your squad.

Thankfully in this instance, Maxence Caqueret is not a highly influential member of the squad and is only on loan, so his concern over his playing time is not gaining traction among other players.

In this instance, he is also not a member of a social group, again meaning his concerns are less likely to spread.

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