FM20 Tactics – Mentality, Part 2: Training mentality

After going through part 1 of the mentality for FM20 guide, you may be asking yourself now “what mentality should I be using?”. Like most things in Football Manager, the answer is more complex than it seems at a cursory glance. Let’s first define some terms:

Our training mentality is the team mentality we use with our Primary tactic and as a long-term plan. This is the mentality your team trains its primary tactic with. Its what makes a tactic either a very defensive 4-4-2 or a very attacking 4-4-2 and anything in-between.

Our in-game mentality is a choice we make dependent on the course of a match. We’ll look at this in part 3.

What follows is a primer in training mentality set in 3 parts.

Training mentality 101: Choosing a starting point

For now, let’s say we’ve taken a look at our team depth charts and the ability reports from our coaches. Using this information, we’ve decided that our players are best suited to using a basic 4-4-2 formation.

The media predicts a fairly mediocre season for us and it would be reasonable to agree given the strength of our squad against the others in the league. Overall, we are an average team and can expect to win 30-50% of our games, with the rest being draws or losses. Would you advise your players to practice an all-out attack strategy knowing that many of your opponents are better equipped? As brave as you may be, that might lead to letting in more goals than you score on during the span of the season.

But what about the opposite end of the spectrum? The team is certainly not the worst in the league and we shouldn’t expect to be fighting relegation. Therefore, training an overly defensive mentality would probably cost us goal scoring opportunities.

We should find a middle ground. As a midtable contender a training mentality somewhere between cautious and positive might be right for us. But wait…

Training mentality 102: Further tuning

Media predictions and team depth charts should not be your sole decider of a training mentality in FM20. Let’s take look at another example to determine our most ideal training mentality. Let’s say you’ve joined a side in a tough position. You’re battling relegation due to the poor management of your predecessor. With a few games left you can save the team but you’re going to need some points. A single loss would likely seal your relegation. Draws are not as good as 3 points, but it’s better than none and you can stay in contention by keeping clean sheets.

Now, even though you may have a group who are capable of bigger things, you might have to think about a slow and steady approach considering the circumstances. After all, the time is long gone when were in line to promotion. Morale is more than likely low and so is support for leadership, being as you are totally new to the club. Taking these factors into consideration you may want to look at a defensive or even very defensive training mentality. This will minimize the risk taken by players on the pitch and perhaps ensure the few draws you need to stay up the league.

Training mentality 103: The finer points found in roles

The last aspect we will cover concerning training mentality in football manager is the function of roles in individual mentality. While individual mentality does not affect team mentality, team mentality DOES affect individual mentality. That is to say that you while changing team mentality from attacking to defending may make your advanced playmaker go from an attacking to defending individual mentality; changing the ROLE of the advanced playmaker to a more conservative deep lying playmaker will not cause the team mentality to shift to defensive. This is also true of shifting a role from attack to defend or vice versa.

Individual roles will affect team fluidity which we will cover in another guide.

You can tailor the roles and duties in the tactic to engineer movement and goalscoring opportunities while staying within the framework of your preferred team mentality. This example is best seen by shifting a duty of a wing back, which is a very flexible position on the pitch. Watch what happens to the individual mentality of the player as we move his duties steadily up from defend to attack.

Remember, despite us assigning the player a more attacking role, the team mentality remains defensive. In this way can use roles and duties to persuade elements of attack (or defense) in team mentalities that would otherwise oppose them.

In the next part of this guide we’ll look at in-game mentality which will allow us to change our mindset on the fly as needed.