Football Manager 2012 Guide: Match Preparation and Team Talks

There are a few significant tweaks and additions in Football Manager 2012 and the team talk system is one of the biggest. You’ll find that the match screen is much the same as previous releases and you have a wealth of options to track your team’s performance and try to influence them.

If you set out your tactical plan, prepare properly and your players deliver on the day then you probably aren’t going to need to do much tinkering during a match – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. On the other hand if you find yourself under siege, two goals down after ten minutes, then you really need to step in and make some changes. The right half-time team talk, tactical tweaks and smart substitutions can turn a game around.

Preparation for a Match

You’ll get a scout report on your next opponent before you play them (if you don’t then make sure you assign a scout this task). The report should give you an idea of your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and it will help you to decide the formation you are going to adopt. You can always afford to be more attacking at home and it’s best to remain slightly more cautious away from home. I tend to use a completely different formation, for example 4-2-3-1 (deep) away and 4-3-1-2 at home. This can also be a good way to rotate your players depending on the size of your squad. You ideally want to play the same core defence as often as possible (central defenders and goalie) but feel free to rotate the rest of your players based on form.

Once you have chosen the team and formation you’re going to go with double check that everyone is fully fit and that you’ve picked the right subs for the bench. It’s hugely annoying to get into the match and then find you forgot to put your star striker back in the team for a big match after resting him. Don’t let the press prediction distract you from the match, their predictions are often wrong.

For the opposition instructions you can just ask your Assistant Manager or one of your Coaches to offer advice. This is a good starting point but you might want to check through their suggestions and make tweaks if you don’t agree.

Team Talks

The team talk system has been beefed up. Your basic options are pretty similar to previous releases but you can now select an overall attitude and adopt a specific style in the dressing room. Are you a cool, calm and collected manager or do you like to rant and rave? Is your approach one of quiet encouragement or do you like to sting players with cutting remarks to get them fired up?

The trouble is that your players are all individuals and so you’ll probably find that some team talks will inspire a few players but potentially turn off others. Ideally you have a squad with a similar mentality but you probably don’t. Thankfully you can also have individual player talks and so you can tailor your pre-match advice. For the most part you won’t have to, but if you notice that a specific player always reacts badly to a certain team talk, then make a note and give them something different. For example you’ll often want to encourage nervous players and reassure them they are playing well, but your big ego star striker might switch off if you praise them so you’ll want to say something different to them.

Your team talk at half time can turn a match so choose carefully. If you have a determined squad and it’s a match they should be winning but they come in at 2-0 down you can afford to read them the riot act. If you have a freshly promoted team up against the league champions then you possibly can’t expect to win and you won’t get anywhere by blasting your players.

Make sure you avoid always giving the same team talk because your players will switch off and it won’t have any impact. For the most part it isn’t worth spending too much time on. There are occasions when it can have a big impact but don’t expect that every match. For individual team talks just use them when you know a player won’t react well to the overall team talk or when you think there’s something that individual has to prove. For example if they’ve pestered you for first team football and you’ve finally relented then you can challenge them to prove themselves, or if it’s a striker down on their luck who hasn’t scored for several matches you might want to tell them you have faith that they’ll find form again.

Next up in our Football Manager 2012 guide we’ll take a look at some FM 2012 tips for managing a match and making substitutions.


About Simon Hill

I'm addicted to gaming and have been since I was a wee boy. Worked in the industry as a tester, designer and producer. I'm now a full time freelance writer and editor.