A Closer Look at the Football Manager 2018 Dynamics Feature
For the first in-depth video about the new Football Manager 2018 features, we got the chance to take a closer look at dynamics and social groups and how it affects FM18 in terms of squad handling and man management.
We’ve for many years encountered teams that has been split up by nationalities and age groups. A perfect example is how the Real Madrid dressing room became split up into players Mourinho liked and the ‘Madridistas’. The tensions and confrontations put major impact to the squad performance and game results, as Jose Mourinho eventually departed after ‘mutual agreements’. With examples of split dressing rooms coming to light every season, it’s only natural that Football Manager will incorporate it.
Welcome the new Football Manager 2018 dynamics feature where social groups and squad hierarchy is making the effects on man management and squad handling for your managerial career.
Definition of Football Manager 2018 Dynamics
- A wide ranging, three dimensional system that affects how you will approach squad handling and man management in Football Manager.
- Improves the realism of scouting and transfer dealings as you need to build a dressing room that can work together effectively both on and off the pitch long term. Gone are the days where you can make multiple signings in a short amount of time and get away with it.
The feature video for FM18 put major focus on dynamics as this will be one of the major and most significant changes to FM18. The new Football Manager Dynamics module connects your managerial style in terms of squad management and squad handling of the dressing room with the on-pitch performances of your players.
A squad with happy players will play more fluently on the pitch, while a squad full of unhappy players will have problems to play in an effortless manner and have troubles expressing themselves in the way their player role and overall team playing style dictates.
The current squad dynamics will be presented to you at the start of a new managerial career and monthly updates will be provided through your inbox, with a backroom staff’s feedback about the players and how it affects squad dynamics detailing the current situation at the club.
The dynamics overview screen located in the sidebar will become a great assistance before addressing the squad or individual players as what you say or do may have devastating impact. Handle the situation with your captain or an highly influential player wrong, and the entire squad or a group of the squad may turn against you – affecting the overall squad morale harshly.
The overview shows the players with most influence within your team – those at the top of the squad hierarchy, the level of the three main areas of dynamics, presented below, and a brief overview of issues and concerns specific players may have, which you should address shortly and could have avoided for future learning.
The Football Manager 2018 Dynamics module is split up in three major elements;
While these elements is not new in anyway, it’s how they interacts with each other and how it may affect your daily management of the squad, individual players, team talks and individual player chats and in the long run how you develop player personalities that fits the overall squad that is new in Football Manager 2018, in order to get on-pitch results in the hunt for new trophies.
The dynamics overview can also be found under the main player profile overview screen, providing detailed information about the specific players opinion about you, which social group the player is part of and their influence on the team.
Match Cohesion Explained
Match Cohesion is one of the most important elements of the new dynamics module in Football Manager 2018. Match cohesion relates to the understanding between the players on the pitch. It affects the overall squads collective level of certain mental attributes ratings, such as positioning, vision, ability to react and make the best decisions. The result may be that players will be better at making through balls because of better vision, be more collective and be at the right place at the right time and don’t leave huge gaps or make better forward runs or more accurate passes.
With more players signed, the level of understanding will be decreased, meaning the players may not perform as good as their potential at match days.
The level of match cohesion can be improved by simply having a squad of players who have played with each other for a long time, by match and team training or by developing individual players mental attributes. In short, the more game time players receives with each other, the better understanding level between them.
More About The Dressing Room Atmosphere
The dressing room atmosphere looks to visualize the current happiness level and temporary state of mind. It’s affected by most influential social groups and the effect the players within has on the current level of satisfaction. The level of dressing room atmosphere affects players morale to different degrees depending on which social groups they are in.
It looks to give you a precise indication of the players level of unity, something that may be a factor when making new signings or putting important squad members on the transfer list, as it may affect the atmosphere.
In the wider context, the level of unity and amount of social groupings means that it may be easier to integrate certain players with similar age, nationality and professionalism may be integrated easier to the squad, while the wrong signing at the wrong time means the atmosphere may drop.
In additional to the influence individual players have over your squad comes influence you have over the players and how impressed they are of you. The managerial support area looks to give you an indication about how much influence you have over the players. It’s related to how long you’ve been at the club, your current reputation, promises you’ve made to specific players at the club, your dealings with team talks and how players have reacted to them and finally the results that have come on the pitch are factors that increases or decreases the players opinion on if you are doing a good job or not.
An higher level of managerial support means that players will get on well with you, while a low rating means that players may not have trust in you and your abilities.
Your level of managerial support and the players influence on the team decides what action you should take and the type of response you should give to requests about more playing time, change of squad status, transfer and contract requests and other squad management dealings that may affect how the players look at you. Remember, upsetting one player may turn the entire squad against you.
Squad Hierarchy in Football Manager 2018
An overview of the current hierarchic of the team leader(s), most influential players, and other significant individuals in additional to a visual presentation of the different social groups within your team will be of assistance as well. The squad hierarchy shows you also where players from specific social groups rank in the pyramide, and the overview will be provided for both the first team squad and the different age groups below.
It looks to summarize your squad by the players with most influence on the other players within the dressing room. As seen in the screenshot, the hierarchy is divided into levels in a pyramid, where the team leaders are on top. These are well-established players, who have been at the club for the longest time, (and have the most respect perhaps due to their age) or who have high ratings of leadership skills – normally the captain and the vice-captain(s).
For an overall good level of atmosphere at the club and managerial support we can’t hide the fact that it’s important to keep the team leaders and most influential players happy, as they can both turn the dressing room to your favour, or in the worst scenario against you depending on how your relationship is with the team leaders. You can now discover how your relationship with certain players and some fellow manages are from the new Relationship tab on the Home Section.
From the team leaders you may get advises on how to improve the current dressing room atmosphere or get information about particular issues within your squad that may influence the dressing room for the future.
The highly influential players may have one of the two skills required to be determined as a team leader, but does not quite have the influence it takes to be rated as a team leader. These are players that may be suited for the role in the future, but needs more time at the club, more respect or improved skills in leadership to be regarded as a team leader.
The other players will be influenced by the individuals higher up in the pyramid.
Feedback about the current squad hierarchy gives you information worthy when setting up your scouting plans as your backroom staff may highlight players that are reaching the peak of their career and should be replaced in the future.
For further information about each of the players within the squad hierarchy, simply click the player box. Here you will get information about their happiness level, which social groups they are part of and other information in terms of their importance and influential level.
It’s a great option to discover why he is in the position of the hierarchy.
The new FM18 module social groups gives you for the first time a visual presentation on how your current players relates to each other and how it may affect the dressing room atmosphere. It shows the bonds between the players, something that it’s important to consider when dealing with your squad, either it’s by team meetings, address transfer requests or individual needs and promises or simply handle team talks and chats. You only needs to upset one of the influential players at the squad and the affects may be devastating for you. Not only will you loose the dressing room, but it may result in you getting fired as the players won’t perform for you.
A great number of factors are taken into account to determine which social groups players end up in, but in short it may be determined by;
- the length of players being at the club
- who have similar level of professionalism
- who speaks the same languages and shares their origin
- players with similar ages
Social groups will be divided into;
- Core Social Group; is the largest and most influential group within your team. It normally exists of players who have been at the club at roughly the same amount of time and shares similar level of professionalism (read personality setting).
- Secondary Social Groups A and/or B;
- Other Players These may be new signings and players who does not fit in the above mentioned groups, or individuals who simply have troubles to gel with the others, perhaps because of age, language spoken or origin of birth. It may also be players who have joined recently and are currently establishing themselves at your club. This does not mean they won’t join any of the other social groups in the future if they meet certain criteria.
In Football Manager 2018, it means that you will get a graphical representation of the players with similar personality, the players with the same mother language or same nationality, age groupings or other areas that may result in discomfort, concerns and unhappiness among your players. The social groupings of the squad hierarchy will basically show you who socialize with who, who have been at the club for the longest time and who have the most influence within your squad, something that may come in handy when looking at youth development in general and tutoring specifically.
Similar to real life, players can drift in and out of social groups as the squad evolves. Sign a lot of South American players once managing in Europe at a short period of time and the social groupings will change. Sell one or two of the most influential players at the club, appoint a new captain and the hierarchy may change in additional to team morale and the match cohesion dropping.
Monitoring Happiness in the Squad Dynamics Section
For the first time in Football Manager, you will get a detailed breakdown on all players happiness level – from how satisfied they are with training and at the club to how he’s being treated and the management. The happiness screens provides you with a clear overview of all the different elements of a players life within the club. Also here, the players are grouped after they hierarchy rankings, giving you a quick tool to see what areas you need to improve to keep your most influential players happy and finally improve the overall happiness rating.
With a bit more knowledge about the Football Manager 2018 dynamics feature you may wonder how your managerial life will be with it incorporated?
At first glance, it means that multiple player signings will immediately affect the squad – in one way or the other. Gone are the days of signing tenth of new talents and make large changes to the squad, either by removing and replacing captains, put key players on the transfer list to get in extra cash and leave out first team players without getting a response that will affect your daily management.
Not only will you be forced to limit the number of signings over a short period of time, but you will also need to analyze when it’s the best time to make key signings or other purchases that may affect the current dressing room atmosphere.
Your approach to team talks and player chats must be done more thoughtful as you would need to understand the social system around the player in question. I don’t think it’s a good approach to skip team talks in general as the players may not get respect for you.
As the manager will also have influence over the players, it becomes even harder for unknown managers at top clubs to get the squad on side for major changes in the club. As in real life, a new manager must find a balance between incorporating new ideas and winning over the squad to your vision of football philosophy. Your level of reputation may be a factor for success from the start of a new career, as a manager with low reputation would need good skills in man management and addressing the psychological side of football.
It will be easier to identify discontent and rising issues as more feedback and information about the players behavior and reactions will mean that it’s ‘easier’ to identify sources of a dropping morale or overall poor happiness within your squad.
As the squad are split up in groups, it may be more difficult to incorporate a promising talent within the first team as new relationships between much older players and the youngster must be established over a longer period of time.
As established player groups exists, new talents you sign may find it more difficult to not only come to a new country but also to fit into your current squad. Real Madrid’s signing of Martin Ødegaard is one of the real life examples of new players that enters the dressing room but are not gladly welcomed by everyone and gets a tough time to continue progression.
These are some of the problems and benefits I can think of at the moment, before being able to experience the new feature at first hand.
This Football Manager 2018 Guide to Squad Dynamics will be updated after the release of FM18 (Out 10th November 2017).
Reactions to the Football Manager 2018 Dynamics Feature
As the first in-depth video about the new FM18 features were launched, the reactions on Twitter wouldn’t wait any long.
Once again we give the word to the Englishman who lives in Norway, The Northman, who will give you his first reactions to FM18 dynamics.